Heineken Cup Semifinal, Twickenham, London, April 2008
By the time European rugby’s premier competition, the Heineken Cup, hit the semifinals, the quality would get very, very good. Even good enough to interest a Southern Hemisphere snob like me. I did not have any time for the plodding English Premiership. Can’t complain about that the two teams playing (London Irish vs Toulouse) being teams I liked either> The Exiles because they were, well… not too English, and Toulouse I fancied ever since our great time there in 2007 for the Rugby World Cup. The really good thing about the H Cup in its knockout phases, is that the games are all away for the teams, so you get two sets of travelling fans there who really turn on the atmosphere. Lots of colour, noise, bands and huge banners waving all through the 80 minutes. You know, all that stuff they ban in New Zealand, and would throw you out of the stadium for. Why create some real atmosphere when you could be booing the kicker? Toulouse won 21-15 in the end, but in 4 weeks time lost to Munster in the final. Fun day out: beers, noise, rugby… and no stress over who won this one!