What a weekend of International Rugby!
21 June 2013
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There isn’t any live rugby to watch locally but I will be glued to the TV with a load of big games to watch.
The main event is the First Lions Test in Australia. Not surprisingly the starting fifteen is dominated by Welshmen but I am delighted for Alex Corbisiero who I rate as the best loose-head in Europe, and for Norfolk’s Tom Youngs. Tom and brother Ben are very grounded and when they have a weekend off they are often seen back at Holt RFC where they started playing.
The bench will have a big impact on the game as will the crowd. The only Lions game I have ever been to was the 2nd Test in Pretoria in 2009 and the noise in the stadium that was two-thirds full of red shirts was extraordinary.
In theory I could spend the whole of Saturday watching rugby from the Southern Hemishere with New Zealand playing France, Scotland taking on Italy and South Africa vs Samoa, the last two games being played in South Africa.
The big event on Sunday is the Junior Rugby World Cup final with England U20s taking on Wales U20s. The semi-finals on Wednesday saw Wales surprisingly overturn South Africa then England dominatte New Zealand in the first half before hanging on to book their pace in the final. England will be favourites for the game that kicks off at 6pm but nothing can be taken for granted.
Before that game is another that has had much less publicity but for me will be equally important. The Africa Cup Division 3 tournament starts in Ivory Coast this weekend and my homeland Nigeria take on Mauritius at 4pm on Sunday. Nigeria is trying to make an impact on the international stage and although they haven’t won a 15-a-side game for several years, this year could be when they make their breakthrough.
Ranked 90th in the World (out of 100) Nigeria has three games against Mauritius (96th), Morocco (33rd) and Zambia (75th) and they have high hopes of securing at least two wins, and with Morocco relegated last season theye is every chance of winning all three. I have no idea if there will be any kind of live video feed available so I may be relying on Twitter for updates.