We had a proper storm here in Sydders last night, 60km/h winds, torrential horizontal rain and dark, forbidding skies.
So I cycled the 14km home from the office as usual.
“you’re crazy”, said my colleague, “take the bus, you’ll get cold and wet”.
Something I learned a long time ago at various Tuesday and Thursday evening training sessions at several cold, waterlogged rugby clubs across England is that human skin is actually waterproof and that if you keep moving, the cold can be temporarily defeated.
So, mine is bigger than yours. Oh hang on, that’s not the subject of this blog post, it’s just an illustration that bad weather stops play here.
Last night’s international between the Wallabies and Scotland is an excellent case in point. The gale force southerly (the coldest wind to hit NSW) and driving rain definitely suited the Sweaties better than the Aussies.
This was apparent from the body language between plays on the pitch; the Scots were standing alert ready for the next action, the Wallabies were visibly shivering. Will Genia looked like he wanted to be anywhere warmer than Newcastle and could barely concentrate long enough to put the ball skew into the scrum (as is the accepted practice down here, “keeps the game flowing” donchya know?).
As the game ground on it turned into an excellent display of how mental attitude and fortitude of spirit can win over fancy-dancey “champagne” rugby. Scotland knew these conditions from back home and played a tight, forwards-centric strategy. We could have been watching a Six Nations match. Ah, nostalgia.
The attitude of the commentators was the most telling; the weather conditions were treated as a novelty and, once the Scots had sealed the win with an extra time penalty, the result was dismissed as a function of the “freak” meteorological situation.
Here’s the thing; THE WEATHER WAS THE SAME FOR BOTH TEAMS!
And by the way Wallabies, it may have escaped your attention, but the next world cup is in England and it’s not a country known for its endless blue skies and predictable weather.
Oh, and one of the “Rugby Championship” (expanded Tri Nations with the Malvinas pretenders invited) fixtures is in Dunedin, the 3rd most grim rugby venue in the world after Invercargill and Upminster (specifically in February 2002, the nastiest conditions I’ve ever played in).
As an aside, the storm is bringing some spectacular seas to the coast today. The picture below shows the early waves from this morning, due to hit 10 to 15 feet later in the day. Short and long boards are staying firmly in their covers…..