I don’t plan on posting many posts about sports on my blog here. But last Sunday I got the incredible opportunity to see England vs. Italy in the rugby Six Nations on Matchday 3!
Sunday was going to be another day in at home as I always plan on Sunday. But by some sheer luck, a friend was able to offer me a spare ticket for free to watch the game close pitchside. Cue mega-excitement!
Taking place at the home of Rugby Twickenham stadium, in quaint and rather cute Richmond, England and Italian rugby fans descended upon this charming neighbourhood in South-West as the game approached kick-off. The excitement and anticipation was palpable as pubs were filled with supporters sinking a few pre-match pints.
England was on a roll having gone undefeated in 2016 winning 16 games on the bounce and needing three more victories to overtake New Zealand as the team with the most win in consecutive games at 18. England were clearly heavy favourites and many, including myself, expected the team to take Italy to the cleaners especially at home in front of an expectant crowd.
But thanks to some clever, albeit controversial Italian tactics, the game was much tighter than many had anticipated, and Italy led 5-10 going into half-time. It wasn’t until the 60th minute that the Twickenham crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief as England pulled through to secure victory (and a bonus point) to win 36-15 and move a step closer of beating New Zealand’s world record of 18 consecutive wins.
One of the many things I noticed at the game were the fans. Respect and sportsmanship is one of the key pillars of rugby and that was on show in abundance as Italian and England happily mingled with each other prior to kick-off.
It’s a stark contrast to Football where fans of opposing sides are kept well apart before, during, and after. At a rugby game, you could England and Italian I could see England and Italy fan next to one another. It’s a very different kind of clientele and I like it.
Much to my surprise Rugby is one of the most watched sport in the world. The Rugby World Cup in 2015 in England was declared the biggest and best tournaments with an estimated 120 million viewers watching the final where New Zealand were crowned champions. Here, the crowd at Twickenham reached just over 81,000.
It may be the only time I get to see my country play at the home of Rugby in an international tournament as grand as the Six Nations. I’m glad this is one thingI can now tick off y list of things I’ve always wanted to do? The only donwside? When I was accidentally splashed with beer at the end and had to enure a 1 hour and 20 minutes train journey home!