So we survived the week in Sydney! The World Rugby Festival was an amazing event that was enjoyed by all participants. Planning for the 2012 event in Japan has already started in our club and I am hoping to attend this one too!
We flew out last Saturday (25 Sept) and arrived at our hotel almost 2 hours late due to a broken down luggage carousel. We headed straight for the sports bar across the road to watch the AFL Grand Final (which turned out to be a pre-Grand Final).
Sunday morning started with a big breakfast at the Louwenbrau Cellar – full German breakfast and steins of beer. Well, it is Oktoberfest after all. Sunday afternoon was the Parade of Nations where all 172 teams marched down the main drag past the City Hall to the Sydney Convention Centre where we had our Opening Ceremony.
Our first game was on Monday morning with the rest of the day spent in the beer tent. Dinner was back at the Louwenbrau Cellar on the Rocks – pork knuckle and pork belly. Tuesday we spent with friends from our backpacking days. We wandered around Darling Harbour with them for a few hours. In the evening, we went on a 3 hour Dinner Cruise from Darling Harbour out towards Manly and back.
Wednesday brought our toughest game of the week. It was an afternoon game against a team that we (The Misfits) had played 4 years previously in Wellington at the Golden Oldies. It was a hard fought match which ended in a closely contested win. Wednesday night we caught the ferry out to Manly to have dinner at a friend of mine’s restaurant – The Jah Bar. I highly recommend it! The food, service and atmosphere were fantastic! Needless to say, we crawled home at around 2am!
Thursday we were all loaded into coaches and taken out to the Hunter Valley to the Lovedale Winery. There were 7 wineries on display along with local produce. There were 4 BBQs going and free Coopers beer and local wines on offer. Live music was played all day.
Friday brought our 3rd game and our first loss. We played a local Sydney side who were much better than us. It didn’t help that we were 3 players short and that the 12 remaining players were very sore. We managed to recruit 2 WAGS to play on the wing for us. The Funnelwebs (opposition side) played in the spirit of the game, even allowing the 2 girls to score a try. Friday night was spent with a very good friend of mine that I met when I first started backpacking in the 90s. I went out to his home and finally got to meet his family. We had dinner with them and returned to our hotel around 9pm.
Saturday was the AFL Grand Final replay in the afternoon followed by a 3 course, sit-down meal at the Closing Ceremony. It turned out to be quite a calm night with most people all partied out after 7 days of partying and playing rugby.
Played – 3, Won – 2, Lost – 1, Points for – 105, Points against – 65. Personal tries – 3