Your hair may be brushed, but your mind’s untidy.
You’ve had about seven hours of sleep since Friday.
No wonder you feel that lost sensation.
You’re sunk from a riot of relaxation.
To Vancouver for a weekend’s worth of hedonism!
The primary reason for the trip was the first of this year’s summer rugby internationals – between Canada and Japan. This match had the added interest of being the first ever game of XVs rugby at BC Place – a stadium more familiar with Canadian football and soccer.
We stayed in an old haunt – the YWCA Hotel – which is within a stone’s throw of the arena. As you can see from the accompanying photos (which were taken from our room on the ninth floor) it seemed almost possible to lean out and touch the ‘place’.
There is nothing fancy about the ‘Y’ but it is a most effective place to rest one’s head at a very reasonable rate if the object of the exercise is to live lavishly out and about in Vancouver rather than to treat the accommodation itself as the destination.
As for the rugby, the game was most enjoyable – for the Kickass Canada Girl and I as well as for the other 10,250 odd who turned out to see the spectacle. Rugby is still only just starting to grow as a sport in Canada and as much of the attention is focused on the VIIs game – particularly with the Rio Olympics (now featuring, as it does, 7-a-side rugby) on the near horizon – this was a pretty good crowd.
Here are Canada warming up before the masses arrive for the match.
Japan are considerably higher than Canada in the world rankings and – having registered a famous victory over South Africa in last year’s World Cup – they might have been expected to record a straightforward win. As things turned out Canada would have had them beaten had they within their ranks possessed a decent kicker. They succeeded, however, in only one out of six attempts at the posts and that is no-where near good enough at this level.
The final five minutes of the match provided a fitting climax and – regardless of what had gone before – almost led to a Canadian victory. Needing two scores to win they camped out on the Japanese line and finally drove over with about a minute left on the clock. They wasted no time with the attempted conversion but set about winning the ball from the restart. They then kept the final move alive deep into injury time, driving further and further into Japanese territory until the whitewash was within reach.
The crowd – cheering itself hoarse by this point – believed for a moment that a famous comeback had been effected and the match taken, but the referee judged that the ball had been held up over the line and Japan won by two points.
After the efforts of our vigorous supporting – and having had a post-match drink with a Kiwi rugby friend in an extremely noisy hostelry thereafter – our tender vocal chords needed soothing treatment from a nearby ‘nitro’ ice cream bar after the game.
At this fascinating establishment ice creams are made on demand on the spot, using copious quantities of liquid nitrogen. Sauces to top the resultant concoctions are presented in plastic syringes embedded into the ice cream.