A Rugby Life

A Rugby Volunteer's Blog

Letter from Rome–Two out of Two

IMGP6537The snow in Rome on Saturday continued to cause problems for everyone, but one benefit was that the usual traffic chaos in the city was put on hold as drivers were advised to stay at home.  So when we boarded our coach at 1pm to take us from the hotel to the Stadio Olimpico we hardly had need of the police escort as the journey was barely 20 minutes with clear roads.

IMGP6564The snow was coming down thick and fast which meant we couldn’t have a look around the Olympic complex and went straight into the hospitality suite for lunch.  In the suite there were a couple of large flat-screen TVs showing a live feed from the cameras outside and there was a running debate over lunch about the likelihood of the game taking place.  As we watched the snow got heavier and thicker we saw our Italian counterparts leaving the room to appear a couple of minutes later on the screen as they looked at the pitch wondering what do to.

IMGP6584At one stage it seemed that the pitch was being watered to get rid of the snow but unsurprisingly that didn’t do any good.  As the Italian officials with us and on the pitch began to look more and more worried we started talking about whether a replay would be staged the following week and would we all have to return to Rome.  But 90 minutes before kick-off the Italian Secretary came in and announced that the game would go ahead, the lines on the pitch were being painted red and leaf-blowers were being used to to clear as much snow as possible.

As we took our seats I admired the stadium that had been built for the 1964 Olympic games.  All 72,000 seats had been sold but between 10,000 and 20,000 Italian supporters from the North couldn’t make the journey as roads and trains were so disrupted.  However, as the anthems were played the remaining Italians filled the stadium with a passionate rendition of the Internazionale.

IMGP6625As for the game, I have to admire the character of the England team who, after digging themselves into a very large hole, managed to pull themselves out of it again.  It wasn’t a particularly pretty game to watch but England have won two tough away games and although they will be firm underdogs against Wales in a fortnight, they will grow further as a team during the match.

After the final whistle we left straight for the hotel to change into black tie for the players dinner at the magnificent Villa Miani.  Apparently you can rent it out if you fancy going somewhere for a summer break, as long as you can find €150,000 per week. You P1070058could see from the tired faces of both sets of players how hard a game it had been, and Sergio Parisse was limping quite badly as he walked to the podium to speak.

It was a big moment for Rob Webber as he was presented with his England cap as was Joe Simpson who played in the Rugby World Cup but only got his cap at this dinner being the first opportunity to do so.  Then with formalities done we boarded our coaches to return once again to our hotel.

IMGP6644Sunday saw the sun shine as you would expect it to in Rome and it was perfect weather for sightseeing.  There was still little traffic in the city and the police had closed the road that connected the huge Victor Emanuel monument with the Coliseum, so we spent a happy hour looking at the ruins of the Forum before taking the Metro back and head for the airport.

Since Italy joined the Six Nations, all rugby supporters have looked forward to the trip to Rome, and although the snow made things tricky, the weekend was as sociable as ever.  Even in the departure lounge I chatted to people from Cantabs, Haverhill, Woodbridge and Ipswich.

If you have the chance to visit the Eternal City, take it with both hands.

Related Post: Pre-match letter from Rome – snow in the Eternal City


2 responses to “Letter from Rome–Two out of Two

  1. Simon Lord 13 February 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Andrew. Were we at the same game? Your enjoyment at the snow meaning your coach could travel uninterupted, contrasted with the local busses being cancelled and hundreds having to squeeze onto a tram and then walk through snow storms… Again, your pre match atmosphere in a nice warm lounge was a far cry from the Peroni village where everyone huddled under the tents in an effort to keep warm and dry.
    In the ground the contingent from Bury were sat next to guys from Norwich and it was lovely to have a chat with Tony Marcantino from Walsham later on…
    Having said all that……Rome is a great place to visit for Rugby and I felt sorry for the Italians, that on their first big game at the Stadio Olimpico it was overshadowed by the weather. Post match we tried our best to sing and dance to the free bands on offer back in the Peroni village, but eventually the desire to eat and get warm won.
    Totaly agree with your summation of Englands performance,,,what they lack for in skill and execution they make up for in heart and character…
    Long 3 days of travelling via Peruggia and Pisa but two wins out of two made it worthwhile


    • Andrew 13 February 2012 at 9:11 pm

      The same game but different ends of the hospitality scale! Did you get the hat I left for you? You should have found it on your seat.
      Like you, I was so sorry for the Italians on there big but they have Scotland at the Olympic stadium in two weeks and with a full house and a pasionate home crowd I think they can get a win.
      Glad you had a good time.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: