Proper rugby grounds, part one!

A new day and a new venue, this time Gloucester.

I’d strangely decided to save £20 by getting the coach rather than a train and I regretted the decision very quickly. Having arrived at Victoria coach station early, I was soon surrounded by Argentinians. They all rushed to the front and boarded the coach and by the time I got there, it was full.

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The coach left and we were told a second one was on the way. When it arrived, the remaining people piled on and we sat there. It eventually filled up, too, and we were on our way about 45 minutes late.

We gradually lost more time during the journey and the stop at Cheltenham was not helped by the driver taking a wrong turn through a very grotty council estate! When we did finally arrive in Gloucester the main road to the bus station was closed and after circling aimlessly for another 10 minutes, a few people demanded to be let off. It was a relief to get off that bus, an hour later in Gloucester than planned, but in plenty of time.

I got checked into my room at the delightful Mulberry House B&B and headed out to find some sustenance.

The first stop was England’s Glory, hopefully an aptly named pub, and a pint of Dirty Rucker. Next up was a Black Rat Cider in the Coach and Horses. And then a Scrumpty Gold in the Kingsholm Inn. And then a Shed Cider in Teague’s Bar. Well, it was my day off!

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The place was buzzing, with Blue and White everywhere, a bit of a change from the local rugby attire. It was a lovely day and everyone was in great spirits. Even Billy made an appearance!

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Kingsholm is a proper rugby ground and the buzz was clear even a couple of hours before kick off. The massive cheers that went up when the Argentina team coach arrived told me I was in for a treat.

Inside, the Argentinians were already singing and the noise was coming from all four stands. The Shed was noisy but the main stand opposite was jumping. The whole stand looked like it was going to leap up any moment and bounce around.

On the downside, I had a post right in front of me. I’d be interested in knowing what a ticket is normally here for a Gloucester match because I wasn’t overly impressed with the price I paid for a restricted view. Looking around, however, pretty much every stand was a restricted view! It’s great that the Rugby World Cup is at venues like this, in fact more games should be, but you shouldn’t take the piss with prices and providing value for money.

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The drink inside the stadium was the standard offering but the food was much better, and better priced, than the OlyStad the day before. Also, the queues weren’t as mental and the serving staff were actually friendly!

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The game was another really good one and although Argentina won handsomely in the end, the Georgians fought hard and kept it tight in the first half. The difference was he invention of the Argentine backs, always looking for space and angles.

The Georgian attack seemed very stagnant by comparison and outside the front 8 they looked very disjointed. If they can find a good 9-10-12 axis behind their pack they’ll surely grow in the coming years. Finishing third in this group and automatically qualifying for the 2019 World Cup will be huge for them in terms of planning and bringing players through. This could be QF team in 4 years with the right investment.

The Georgian two rows in front of me screamed at the top of his voice at every point and you had to feel sorry for him at the end as the game ran away from his country.

The setting sun over Kingsholm made for a wonderful end in a beautiful setting.

Despite the early finish, I was beat and after a couple more drinks I collapsed back in bed.

I awoke early this morning and tucked into a hearty fried breakfast and decided to check out some more of Gloucester. I’d hoped to walk around the city a bit more yesterday but hadn’t had the time, as there was drinking to do.

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It’s a quaint little city and one I look forward to coming back to in a couple of weeks time for the final group match! No overnight stays there though, straight home after the match!

 

 

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