Newham, right – we all know where that is? Of course not.
In the darkest reaches of East London, in the home of Great Britain’s Olympic triumphs, my latest journey has taken place.
Wednesday started with a “board meeting” at work which curiously had the Scotland v Japan match showing. Japan once again fought hard and the scoreboard doesn’t tell the whole story. Scotland ran away at the end against a tired team but overall, the Scots made more tackles than their opposition. Japan still have a great chance in this group and with 10 days rest until Samoa, that match is massive. Scotland played well, defended stoutly and attacked with purpose at the end. Job done for them!
From work I’m a stone’s throw, almost literally in fact, from the Olympic Stadium so I hopped on the DLR and made my way to Stratford/Newham/a pub. Here I found Tap East, with a TV smaller than my one at home, and surrounded by about a hundred large blokes cheering Fiji’s every move and point against the Aussies. In a group where bonus points could be massive, Australia failed to get one. How big does Billy V’s last minute score become now? Time will tell.
I met my brother and we headed into the stadium where we paid an extortionate amount for small bottles of Bulmers and a hot dog. It had a Cumberland sausage so I guess they can justify the fact it was over £5… When you’ve spent £35 on a ticket and then you spend more on food and drink (not to mention a £10 programme!), something is wrong. This might be one of my cheapest games, match ticket wise, but I probably still spent over £80 all in. Absolutely crazy.
This match was France v Romania and everyone came expecting a one-sided performance. The Romanians fought bravely and were level after half an hour but a couple of quick French tries, along with a muted “Allez les Bleus”, finished this as a contest. France were much improved in their second half versus Italy and the same was expected here, but they looked a bit disjointed. They got their bonus point, but only in the 69th minute. Romania got their reward with a good try near the end but this was a solid, if unimpressive, victory for France.
For them, and Ireland, the three earlier games are merely an appetiser for the main event. Save energy, save resources, score points, get wins, move on!
There was a good crowd at the OlyStad, size-wise at least, and I was glad to get home in about 90 minutes. Not bad for what would be a 10 mile drive for me!
This post was to include the following night, too, but that deserves a separate post…!