We had a grand adventure today as part of a delayed birthday thing. Lady M had managed to get tickets to the Quilter friendly international match between England and Wales for today – a series that is often seen as a warm up and tryout for the Rugby World Cup.
I’m not an avid follower of rugby, but I played it at school, and have always enjoyed watching matches on TV if I happen to catch them. England Vs Wales always leaves me caught in the middle too: my parents are Welsh, but I’m a born and bred Londoner. I feel no fierce tribal loyalty either way.
That said, there’s something about the buzz of a stadium event that had us look at each other and go for it. I hadn’t been to Twickenham stadium for a good thirty four years or so, and Lady M had never been to a match. We even splashed out a bit on the tickets, and that’s how we ended up with the view above: pretty much at the front with a perfect view of the goals.
We’re also lucky enough to live a short bus journey away from the stadium so we avoided the trains. This was a good thing, as over 80,000 people attended on the day.
Rugby crowds are generally more chilled than their soccer counterparts – there’s a politeness and cheer fuelled by moderate drinking, plentiful food, and a no nonsense attitude towards people causing trouble.
This was no more evident than in the case of the group of young men behind us who seemed to have a few soccer fans in their numbers. Midway through, one of them leapt to his feet and tried yelling an obscene anti-Welsh chant. It trailed off pretty much straight away as everyone – English and Welsh supporters alike – stopped, turned, and just looked at him. He sat down and we didn’t hear from him again.
By comparison, I gave Lady M repeated giggles by translating the term “knock on” for her as “someone was fucking clumsy”, and “driving the scrum down” as “dangerous fuckery”
Behind us we heard rugby fans explaining to the soccer fans that a “high tackle” wasn’t necessarily deliberate, but it was dangerous and that was why it was punished.
All in all, a great day out – sometimes amusing for the wrong reasons, but so grateful for the chance to be there and soak up the occasion.