Monday, 21 September 2015

Rugby World Cup ... kicks off!

Unless you are living under a rock then you will have noticed that the UK is hosting the Rugby World Cup which kicked off on Friday.
I had secured some tickets, but the elusive England games were out of my price range and completely unavailable. Can you imagine my excitement when my boss offered me a corporate seat with one of our suppliers at work!...

 The ticket arrived in a beautiful black box with the gorgeous Dan Carter on the front.  Complete with silver embossed hospitality tag, Lanyard and ticket for the match. With the opening ceremony starting at 7pm and pre-match activities starting from around 4pm.
I left work early and headed to Waterloo to make the trip along with 80,000 others to Twickenham! I have travelled to Twickenham several times, but I have never seen the ground and surrounding areas that busy so early before the game. There was a great atmosphere everywhere I walked with everyone in great spirits and lots of white / red England shirts!. Twickenham had really been transformed with flags, fanzones, huge screens,and  hospitality.
RWC had issued some key timings for the evening and I was extremely fortunate to be in the right spot for when the famous Webb Ellis Cup was walked into the stadium by the greatest No 10 for England!.... Jonny Wilkinson!... I can't tell you how excited I was.
After seeing Jonny I joined my hosts for the evening in the box that we were going to spend some of the evening, along with a lovely little dining area where we had dinner & drinks.
Starter: Rolled Gloucester old spot ham with a garden pea salad, mint coulis & apple puree.
Main: 72 hr short rib tender loin of british beef, oyster mushrooms & madeira sauce with mash & seasonal veg.
Dessert: Glazed lemon tart with raspberry meringues and lime marinated raspberries.
with copious amounts of wine & coffee!
I have never had the delight of corporate hospitality, food and company was great, with a TV screen on the wall you could see everything going on outside from the comfort of a comfy chair and great food. Starters & Mains were finished in time for the start of the Opening ceremony. With rousing versions of Jerusalem from the Royal marines band and Laura Wright it was time for the fun to begin!


With pyrotechnics, fireworks and lots of lights the vintage rugby ball transformed into the Gilbert ball of the games and the ground broke to reveal a rugby representative from each country who was welcomes to rapturous applause from the crowd. The biggest and loudest cheer was given on the introduction of Martin Johnson captain of the winning squad for England in 2003.
The ball soon became a steel frame that allowed a rugby climbing scrum to form to allow the young "Webb Ellis" to climb to the top and retrieve the golden cup!
With the theatrics over it was time for the opening speeches... Prince Harry leading the way to a huge roar from the crowd, followed. With a great speech referencing both Mandela's world cup and that drop goal from 2003, he told the world we were ready... Game on!
Lights dimmed and a fireworks lifted off the roof of the stadium, with a light show across the pitch it was time to bring on the teams!
The noise was unbelievable, if Twickenham had had a roof then it surely would have been lifted off with 80,000 on their feet roaring for their team & country.
Both squads lined up for the national anthems, the Fijians singing first with many crying as their anthem played out across the stadium. This was followed by a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen, with all squad singing with passion and pride along with a very loud and proud stadium of England fans in Twickenham.
This was followed by the Fijian Haka before the start of the game.
The game started well with England getting points on the board within 3 minutes of the game kicking off and 15 points clear by the 22nd minute. It was clear that nerves and a young inexperienced squad were playing a part with the game as silly mistakes were made.
The lead slipped to a 10 points as the half time blew.
Half time allowed for some dessert & coffee within the dining room and much conversation of the game.
With multiple substitutions as the 2nd half started, with Burgess on & Wigglesworth & Farrel it was time to put some more points on the board. With many stoppages and referrals to TMO the game felt a little disjointed, however 2 fabulous Trys from Mike Brown (a well deserved man of the match) the game concluded with an England win of 35 / 11.
With mini hot pies, coffee and beer on offer in hospitality I stayed around for a little while before heading out of the stadium back to the station.
After a congested walk/queue to the station I arrived on the platform at 11pm, my last train was 12.46 so I knew I was going to be tight with timings!.... best laid plans blown when a man on the platform fell under the train as it pulled into Twickenham station. This was the low light of my evening as the station were not equipped to deal with 80,000 travellers stranded in Twickenham and no trains to London. This created a little stress and a bus trip to Richmond, and multiple trains to get to the station and collect my car, getting the last tube with seconds to spare.... arriving home a very tired but happy lady at 01.30!...
Contrary to social media reports the man injured was not critical and was taken to a London hospital where he is said to be doing well, and it seemed that the station staff were better at controlling the crowds on my return to Twickenham on the Saturday.
As well as having fun watching the team on the pitch I also had a great view of the Royal box , where I got to see Kate, William & Harry along with the Queen of Bakes Mary Berry.... who knew she was a rugby fan!. Very proud to see school friend and Barking boy Jason Leonard sitting alongside Kate during the game in his new role as president of the Rugby Football Union.
I had an amazing evening and my Rugby World Cup adventures continue.....



1 comment:

Caroline said...

Clearly I am the person referred to in your first sentence, who lives under a rock, as I vaguely knew there was some rugby thing going on but only because I saw a traffic warning outside Exeter the other day - that was about it!! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a world cup in rugby. You've educated me today!!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Rugby World Cup ... kicks off!

Unless you are living under a rock then you will have noticed that the UK is hosting the Rugby World Cup which kicked off on Friday.
I had secured some tickets, but the elusive England games were out of my price range and completely unavailable. Can you imagine my excitement when my boss offered me a corporate seat with one of our suppliers at work!...

 The ticket arrived in a beautiful black box with the gorgeous Dan Carter on the front.  Complete with silver embossed hospitality tag, Lanyard and ticket for the match. With the opening ceremony starting at 7pm and pre-match activities starting from around 4pm.
I left work early and headed to Waterloo to make the trip along with 80,000 others to Twickenham! I have travelled to Twickenham several times, but I have never seen the ground and surrounding areas that busy so early before the game. There was a great atmosphere everywhere I walked with everyone in great spirits and lots of white / red England shirts!. Twickenham had really been transformed with flags, fanzones, huge screens,and  hospitality.
RWC had issued some key timings for the evening and I was extremely fortunate to be in the right spot for when the famous Webb Ellis Cup was walked into the stadium by the greatest No 10 for England!.... Jonny Wilkinson!... I can't tell you how excited I was.
After seeing Jonny I joined my hosts for the evening in the box that we were going to spend some of the evening, along with a lovely little dining area where we had dinner & drinks.
Starter: Rolled Gloucester old spot ham with a garden pea salad, mint coulis & apple puree.
Main: 72 hr short rib tender loin of british beef, oyster mushrooms & madeira sauce with mash & seasonal veg.
Dessert: Glazed lemon tart with raspberry meringues and lime marinated raspberries.
with copious amounts of wine & coffee!
I have never had the delight of corporate hospitality, food and company was great, with a TV screen on the wall you could see everything going on outside from the comfort of a comfy chair and great food. Starters & Mains were finished in time for the start of the Opening ceremony. With rousing versions of Jerusalem from the Royal marines band and Laura Wright it was time for the fun to begin!


With pyrotechnics, fireworks and lots of lights the vintage rugby ball transformed into the Gilbert ball of the games and the ground broke to reveal a rugby representative from each country who was welcomes to rapturous applause from the crowd. The biggest and loudest cheer was given on the introduction of Martin Johnson captain of the winning squad for England in 2003.
The ball soon became a steel frame that allowed a rugby climbing scrum to form to allow the young "Webb Ellis" to climb to the top and retrieve the golden cup!
With the theatrics over it was time for the opening speeches... Prince Harry leading the way to a huge roar from the crowd, followed. With a great speech referencing both Mandela's world cup and that drop goal from 2003, he told the world we were ready... Game on!
Lights dimmed and a fireworks lifted off the roof of the stadium, with a light show across the pitch it was time to bring on the teams!
The noise was unbelievable, if Twickenham had had a roof then it surely would have been lifted off with 80,000 on their feet roaring for their team & country.
Both squads lined up for the national anthems, the Fijians singing first with many crying as their anthem played out across the stadium. This was followed by a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen, with all squad singing with passion and pride along with a very loud and proud stadium of England fans in Twickenham.
This was followed by the Fijian Haka before the start of the game.
The game started well with England getting points on the board within 3 minutes of the game kicking off and 15 points clear by the 22nd minute. It was clear that nerves and a young inexperienced squad were playing a part with the game as silly mistakes were made.
The lead slipped to a 10 points as the half time blew.
Half time allowed for some dessert & coffee within the dining room and much conversation of the game.
With multiple substitutions as the 2nd half started, with Burgess on & Wigglesworth & Farrel it was time to put some more points on the board. With many stoppages and referrals to TMO the game felt a little disjointed, however 2 fabulous Trys from Mike Brown (a well deserved man of the match) the game concluded with an England win of 35 / 11.
With mini hot pies, coffee and beer on offer in hospitality I stayed around for a little while before heading out of the stadium back to the station.
After a congested walk/queue to the station I arrived on the platform at 11pm, my last train was 12.46 so I knew I was going to be tight with timings!.... best laid plans blown when a man on the platform fell under the train as it pulled into Twickenham station. This was the low light of my evening as the station were not equipped to deal with 80,000 travellers stranded in Twickenham and no trains to London. This created a little stress and a bus trip to Richmond, and multiple trains to get to the station and collect my car, getting the last tube with seconds to spare.... arriving home a very tired but happy lady at 01.30!...
Contrary to social media reports the man injured was not critical and was taken to a London hospital where he is said to be doing well, and it seemed that the station staff were better at controlling the crowds on my return to Twickenham on the Saturday.
As well as having fun watching the team on the pitch I also had a great view of the Royal box , where I got to see Kate, William & Harry along with the Queen of Bakes Mary Berry.... who knew she was a rugby fan!. Very proud to see school friend and Barking boy Jason Leonard sitting alongside Kate during the game in his new role as president of the Rugby Football Union.
I had an amazing evening and my Rugby World Cup adventures continue.....



1 comment:

Caroline said...

Clearly I am the person referred to in your first sentence, who lives under a rock, as I vaguely knew there was some rugby thing going on but only because I saw a traffic warning outside Exeter the other day - that was about it!! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a world cup in rugby. You've educated me today!!