We had an amazing day at Cardiff Arms Park for Blues v Glasgow followed by Women’s Armed Forces UK v Cardiff Blues women on Remembrance weekend. Two fantastic games! Here are a couple of snaps (more coming soon from Emily’s phone!)
I can’t emphasise how impressed I was with the ferocity, skill and standard of play in the Armed forces game. It was a real cracker. I’m informed the Blues squad was a select team consisting largely of Wales internationals (I need to brush up on my knowledge of the women’s game). They were certainly dominant during a physical first half in which temperatures dipped and two glorious tries were scored. The Armed forces battled back in the second half, scoring a dramatic try in the final stages of play to level at 12-12 with the conversion to come. The conversion hit the upright, however, to see the game end as a draw. The result didn’t really matter though – most importantly, this was a fantastic advert for women’s rugby and for armed forces rugby. Let’s hope that the next encounter draws an even bigger crowd, and is perhaps even played on the national pitch just next door.
OK…My prediction may have been a little off the mark!
What a fantastic final though! Incredible rugby from New Zealand and Australia, both really hungry for a historic third world cup victory. High scoring, too, for a final. Can’t fault it. In the end, the ABs showed real flair and sublime handling, as well as some bone-crunching defending during the crucial third quarter, which was enough to see them home and dry. Sonny Bill Williams’ offload to feed Ma’a Nonu for a scintillating midfield charge and subsequent try was a personal highlight. It was also great to see Richie Mcaw and Dan Carter bow out of international duties on such a high and with two great performances – supposing, of course, they do indeed decide to call time on their All Blacks careers.
Australia were certainly value for money in the final too, especially when New Zealand were reduced to fourteen men. David Pocock was again superb – he has been without a doubt one of the best players of this tournament, a real physical presence and, importantly for an openside flanker, a real nuisance.
Many congratulations to New Zealand. I hope the team and all their fans enjoy celebrating. This has been an epic tournament, it’s been a pleasure to watch many corners of the UK lit up by some fantastic rugby on the pitch, and the fantastic supporters off it.
Here’s to Tokyo 2019.