033. Match 1

RWC2019 Match 1: Japan 30 Russia 10

Japan, while winning, were disappointing. Very disappointing.

From the kickoff (which they dropped), to conceding the first try of their own tournament, to their kicking away ball aimlessly, to their poor decision-making: disappointing.

Put it down to nervous excitement maybe, years of anticipation for just this moment, but goodness gracious me so many work-ons.

Whereas the Russians were rather good. Much better than I expected given their warm-up matches. Big and bruisy upfront, but with some nice skills at 9 and 10, and they lasted most of the 80. Good for them.

Mayhem and I watched the match at a local sports bar. Packed with expat Aussies and English in for their matches this weekend against Fiji and Tonga respectively.

The good aspect of that was it allowed Mayhem and I to console with the Poms about how awful the Aussies are, and with the Aussies about how awful the Poms are.

The bar was crowded, which wasn’t difficult considering it was the size of a Morris Minor. Plenty of shoving and grunting. Mayhem and I found a spot to stand next to the toilet (singular), and ended up being the queue monitors, which involved various amounts of banter about their teams’ chances.

Banter abounded, some of it witty, most of it not.  Plenty of ugly expat behaviour on show. But we did manage to find the two good Aussies in Sapporo, Bill and Tom from Country New South Wales.

We knew they were the two good Aussies in Sapporo when I asked what they thought of Michael Cheika.

“F*cking wanker” was the one repeatable opinion. They’ll enjoy their trip to Japan, but they’re not leaving any space in their suitcase for a trophy.


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