Wednesday, 17 June 2009

On the way to a Chichibu Final

Unusually, my schedule worked out superbly! Great!

All day administering Cambridge ESOL Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) in Akasaka and a dash underground to find the Chichibu Stadium and the last five minutes of the first semi-final. Japan is hosting the IRB Junior World (Rugby) Championship, essentially the Under 20 World Cup.

The Baby Blacks had finished off the Wannabies in front of a fine crowd - if a sombre one. It was weird, even after the main feature started (England confronting the Baby Boks), just how quiet so many people at a sporting event can be. Funereal! Delightfully, beer was walking around in the guise of very cute vendors so I didn't have to leave my seat in the first half (not much to get excited about on the pitch, apart from a gormless charged-down kick which gifted them a try)

These players are Under 20? Have to say some of them were pretty bloody big - England's flanker Lawes was Fijian dimensions, and the inside centre built like a brick shithouse (col.). England repeatedly commited the cardinal sin in rugby = letting the ball bounce. It's an oval ball, so No, you can't predict what will happen if you let it do so. England looked bigger, stronger, and were mostly going forward; they were already starting to control the game when the SA flanker was sent off for being a naughty boy. The man advantage told over the last 15 minutes, and the scrum half's try from well-worked line out move would be well-worth seeing applied in the senior team some time.

Most bizarrely, Jamie George played most of the game as replacement hooker (number 16). He has a fine pedigree!

So, England to squash the baby ABs on Sunday. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot...."