Rest before the big one...and I must remember to breathe!
Today is the day of the brone final and my chance to see my boys play in the RWC. Before the World Cup had even begun I was doubtful that Wales would get out of their group because it was such as tough one and their form hadn't been too good. However after the South Africa game, which they should have won, I had started to believe we could get through to the play-offs. After the Ireland match, I really thought it was possible I could be watching them play in the final and in reality I should be. Unfortunately as so often happens is sport, the best team doesn't necessarily always win. However, I was still delighted to get the chance to see them play. I think I have mentioned before how well received the team have been in New Zealand and whenever I have worn my top or got into conversation with someone about the rugby and the Welsh team all I have heard is favourable things. Every New Zealander I have spoken to wanted it to be a Wales v New Zealand final and you can't get much better praise than that.
Anyway, we had a very lazy day. The weather was glorious, incredibly hot and stupidly we went a little sun crazy and sat out, unprotected for a few hours. We both ended up a fetching pink shade, which clashed a little with the red top! The camp owners had organised transport to get us back after the match so we got a bus into Auckland which took us right to the stadium. The atmosphere was great. There were lots of things going on, street acts, gymnasts, singers, stilt walkers. A great mix of support with all team colours being worn. A girl at a concession stand offered me a trade for my dragon hat which I doggegdly wore (dragondly wore maybe) despite the looks I was getting from Var. I must have been stopped half a dozen times by people wanting to take a photo of it. Anyway I told her I would be back for the final and made a decision I would take the hat to her then. After some retail therapy at the RWC shop we found our seats and settled in for the game.
As some of you will know, Wales lost and although it wasn't the first loss of the tournament it was the one I was disappointed by. The team did not play as they had been and although we were short a couple of forwards including our captain, I felt you could tell that the boys hearts weren't in the game. Not to take anything away from Australia as they played very well.
Leaving the stadium afterwards the atmosphere was great and fans mixed. What I love about rugby is that the "violence" stays firmly on the pitch. Fans of opposing teams sit and socialise next to each other and fans appreciate good play no matter the colour of their shirts. To get the bus back to the camp we had to get a city bus to another bus park so couldn't hang about. However, we were both very impressed with the organisation involved in getting fans away from the stadium.
Very proud of my boys, and with the youngest team in the tournament I think that the next 4 years will bring a maturity and possibilities. More of the same with a little more self belief please.