Saturday, February 07, 2009

Six Nations Rugby: England v. Italy

Yesterday our friends Caroline & Andy invited us to see England trounce Italy in the first match of the Six Nations Rugby championship, a much anticipated annual tournament between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy.

The stadium is in Twickenham, a smallish London suburb/village with NO parking and very narrow roads. So spectators get as close as they can via a variety of public transport, and then walk for ages in the cold toward the stadium. Enterprising locals set up sausage stands on their front lawns and rent out their driveways to those brave/stupid enough to drive to the match.

And you can purchase flags and scarves to show your support for England all along the walk.

Unless you are fans from Italy and brought assenine fan gear from home.

In any event, there were LOADS of people.

What better way to kick off a rugby match than with Special Forces being lowered on a giant flag of Engand from the roof of the stadium? (It was a lot more hardcore than my photo conveys).

And there was also God Save the Queen:

It didn't take England very long to score. And so the crowd was happy.

I'm confused as to why England fans sing a traditional American spiritual to root on their team, and even more confused as to how they all manage to sing in unison from the first note.

In truth, it was not the most exciting game given how dominant England was. There was a solitary Italian fan near us wrapped in his country's flag. I wouldn't have guessed it was possible to look so stoic while wearing a blue clown wig.

But it's always great fun to see rugby anyhow. We purchased little radios that allow you to listen to the action on the field via a small mic worn by the referee (the feed from which is otherwise not broadcast). It's great for better understanding what's happening and also hear what the players are saying to one another. (It's not like American football where the refs will explain penalties to the crowd. )

Then, after being dominated most of the match and losing what seemed like half its team to injuries, Italy (in blue) finally scored:

But it was too little too late, and in the end England won handily.

After the game we retired to the Sun Inn, a rugby-themed pub in Richmond (along with a lot of other fans).

The crowd was jovial but it'd been a long day so we headed home while the evening was still on a, um, high note:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Simply Shine