Tails From Cardiff


I’m not into sport unless it’s either equestrian sports or rugby.  For those who don’t know, the Rugby World Cup kicked off last weekend and we were lucky enough to have tickets for Ireland’s opening game against Canada.  In Wales.  So we flew to London on Thursday, stayed with our daughter and did some cultural stuff around London on Thursday and Friday.

Then on Saturday, we boarded a train in Paddington and headed for Cardiff!


On the bus leaving Hackney

The atmosphere was fantastic.  Cardiff was looking kinda green!


There were even green motorbikes parked outside Cardiff castle.


But there was the occasional splash of red here and there.  Fair enough, Canadian fans had a lot farther to travel than Irish fans.


Like all rugby matches, fans intermingled happily in a festive atmosphere.  None of yer ould football hooliganism with the rugby crowd, no way.


Besides the green of Ireland and the red of Canada, there were some other – um – interesting colours to be seen around the place.


And even some French fans, who I guess hadn’t been able to get tickets to the France/Italy match later that day.


We had breakfast and wandered around the town a bit.


Inside Cardiff Castle


In all fairness, I thought this was rather offensive towards the RWC hosts. Mind you, the English did come up with the Hakarena – if you can dish it out you need to be able to take it, too I suppose


I loved these stone animals along the castle walls, complete with glass eyes


The lioness looks positively regal


The bear, however, has an expression that resembles Cinnamon when there’s thunder around

I got talking to one of the mounted policemen and admired all their horses.


They gave us a tip-off that the Irish team bus had left their hotel and that they’d be passing this point in about ten minutes.  Well of course we had to wait and watch the bus go by, cheering and flag-waving as it went.


It was nice to read in the match day reports the next day that the reception they received while driving down the street blew the lads away.  I like to feel I contributed in my own way (jumping up and down like an idiot, waving my flag and yelling COME ON IRELAND).


Millennium Stadium is huge – normally it has a capacity of 84,000, but for World Cup games they have restricted it to 71,000.


It was almost filled to capacity – the official figure was 69,400.


We were near the top, far away from the pitch, but we had a great view of the whole stadium.  I spotted a row of Mounties over to our right and zoomed in as best I could with my little camera :


St Patrick arrived just before the game started, accompanied by some Vikings.  Not sure they were all from the same era?  But they were clearly having fun.DSCF1292The teams arrived on the pitch, anthems were sung and the game was ON.


Ireland were hot favourites to win, but they looked nervous for the first five minutes.  Then they got into their stride and started running in tries.  By half time, they were 29-0 ahead and had the match plus a bonus point securely in the bag.  The full time score was 50-7 which is definitely a rout, but I have to say I would have been a lot happier if our defence had kept Canada out.  (Some people are never happy!)

The only downside of the day was the train journey home.  Or rather, queuing for the train for the journey home.  We were lucky, we only had an hour wait, but there were stories of people waiting four hours for a train to London.  I don’t understand why National Rail failed to cater for the 69,000 people that they knew were attending the game.  Irish Rail lays on extra trains for big match days, and when we attended the Munster/Clermont Auvergne match in Montpelier, there were at least a dozen Metro trams sitting outside the stadium, waiting to be filled when the match was over.

That’s my only gripe about an otherwise excellent day out.

Thanks for the tickets, Aideen & Tansy!

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