Six Nations 2020 Suspended: Covid-19

Welsh shirt dusted off, tickets in hand, we were looking forward to the 2020 Six Nations Championship climax weekend when normality was set aside and the new social distancing world order took hold.

On the afternoon of Friday 13th March, the Wales v Scotland game, to be held at the Principality Stadium (Cardiff) the following day, was postponed, officially the last scheduled sporting event in the World (that’s how much the Welsh love their rugby!) to be played, after all other fixtures having been cancelled in the wake of the escalating Covid-19 situation. Covid-19 had played its hand, and won.

This was a turning point for us, and marked the beginning of a series of social distancing measures being imposed by the UK Government and culminated in a full “lockdown” taking effect on the 24th March. Almost one month later, our national stadium had been transformed into the second largest field hospital in the UK, and re-named the Dragon Heart hospital. Many rugby heroes, most notably from the Women’s game, are hanging up their boots, and are taking up key-worker roles at the NHS and other emergency services, and we thank them for keeping us all safe in these unprecedented times.

The tournament ended with a three way contest for the men, and England sitting clearly at the top of the Women’s table. We were expecting a thrilling Super Saturday!

The 2020 cohort of biscuits are now safely packaged away, but with no vaccine expected for months at the earliest, no one is really sure when, and indeed, if, the 2020 tournament will be resumed before 2021.

To avoid the 2020 fixtures being lost in the Covid-19 drama, I have summarised where we got to, right before Super Saturday was suspended.

Round 1, Round Up



Round 2, Round Up



Round 3, Round Up



Round 4, Round Up



Round 5, Round Up “Super Saturday”

So, we are all eagerly waiting to see how the World copes with Covid-19, and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that we can resume some degree of normality as soon as possible.

#StaySafe #StayHome

#GingerBreadOfHeaven #SixBiscuits

Take a trip to Westeros & Essos: Northern Ireland Road Trip 2019

This is a must for any Game of Thrones fan!

A visit to Northern Ireland quickly reveals why it was an obvious choice for filming the epic Game of Thrones show, with such incredibly diverse landscapes suitable for locations across both Westeros & Essos.

Whist the Dark Hedges was a particularly hectic place to visit (but you can avoid the crowds by visiting early in the morning), most areas are tranquil, with very few tourists to hamper your view. Driving around is also very easy, with the longest drive between locations under 2.5 hours, and only tractor-traffic to navigate. Purchasing National Trust membership for your trip is certainly worth it, as you will pretty much make back your money during this trip alone.

When pulling together our itinerary for our GoT Territory road trip last Summer, we relied heavily on the information provided by Discover Northern Ireland (including their App), who have compiled some excellent trips based around the ten Game of Thrones doors that have been spread across the territory.   These doors tell the story of Season 6 of the series, and were created using 18th century beech trees that fell from the Dark Hedges (aka the King’s Road) in a storm in 2016.  We were so pleased we managed to see them all! img_0174

As we found this approach the best way to make the most of our visit, and helped us to cram in as many locations as possible in the time that we had, I have replicated the approach here, and provided an overview of the places to visit by reference to the 10 Doors of Thrones.  For those of you wanting more details, I have attached a link to a PDF with our full itinerary. I have used information about many locations taken from the Northern Ireland Game of Thrones Territory Filming Location booklet and the Journey of Doors Passport. These are readily available within Northern Ireland, or you can download copies in advance of your trip.

At many locations, information signs are available providing background to the relevant filming sequences, but sadly, many of these were no longer in situ when we visited, and hopefully these will be replaced in the future.

DOOR 1 – The Cuan, 6-12 The Square, Strangford BT30 7ND

Opening title sequence of GoT – Westeros Geography & reminder of the context of Season 5 warring Houses.

We based ourselves for the first 3 days of our trip at the camping site at Castle Ward (located on the shore of Strangford Lough), having spent our arrival night at The Cuan following a last minute change to our ferry schedule. The GoT cast stayed at the Cuan during filming.

We opted for a premium pod, which is a “glamping” option. It had power and bed couches and a fantastic location in the forest above Strangford Lough. We were lucky to have had great weather for most of our trip, and so I cannot comment on what this experience would have been like had it been raining!

Staying at The Cuan would have been an excellent choice for our trip, but they didn’t have availability for our trip.

Most of the Season 1 Winterfell scenes are set within the Castle Ward National Trust property (Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7BA).


Audley Castle & Field (Accessible via a cycle tour from Castel Ward) – GoT: Robb Stark’s Camp, Oxcross (Battle of Oxcross): Where Robb Stark first meets Talisa

Locations around Castle Ward – GoT: Ned’s picnic, Baelor’s battlefield, The Twins, Where Brienne confronts Stark Men with Jamie, Winterfell Castle

You can also take a short drive into the Riverlands from Castle Ward.   We visited Inch Abbey before breakfast one morning and it was stunning, and no-one else around to disturb the silence. You can see Downpatrick Cathedral from this spot.

Inch Abbey, Inch Abbey Road, Downpatrick BT30 9AT – GoT: Rob Stark’s camp, The Riverlands

Quolie River is at the end of 31 Quay Road (off Strangford Road) – Hoster Tully’s funeral at Riverrun

Places to eat:  The Lobster Pot, Strangford & The Cuan. The Game of Thrones Banquet at The Cuan is highly recommended for a full Game of Thrones experience.  The attention to detail was incredible, and we had a lovely evening.  The food was excellent!

We also had fish & chips one evening from the Cuan’s own chippy to make the most of the fine weather we had during our trip.

DOOR 2 – Fiddler’s Green, 10 Church Street BT22 1LS

Shows the conflicts between Houses of Bolton and Greyjoy.  The Kracken and Flayed Man take centre stage.

To get to the pub, and to visit nearby Quintin’s Castle and Ballyquintin Point, you will need to take the small ferry across from Strangford across the lough to Portaferry. Strangford is a very small town, which has a very interesting small castle.  The ferry terminal is right around the corner from The Cuan.  You will need the car to visit the sights from Portaferry, but if you are just looking to head to the pub, then you can ride as a passenger instead.

Quintin’s Castle & Bay, NT car park, Kearney Road, BT22 1QF – GoT: Stokeworth: Where Jaime speaks with Bronn and Lollys.

DOOR 3 – Percy French Inn, Newcastle BT33 0AH – At the foot of the Mourne Mountains

Depiction of an exodus of ships from the Iron Islands and foreshadowing of the Battle of the Bastards

The scenic backdrop here is incredible!  Mountains and forests dominate the landscape. We had a drink and snack at the Percy French Inn.   This was probably our least favourite door location, mainly because the Percy French is less “traditional” than all of the other pubs we visited.

We only stopped briefly at Leitrim Lodge and we didn’t have time to do any hiking.   If we came here again, we would certainly like to spend a few days in the Mourne Mountains hiking and exploring the wilderness.

Tollymore Forest is a huge public park and we wished we had set aside more time to stay here.  We joined part of a Game of Thrones tour here, which lasted just over an hour.  The park was used to film a number of notable GoT scenes, including the opening scene where the Black Watch deserter witnesses the horror of the White Walkers, and the place where the Starks found the Direwolves.  We had an excellent guide, Eric, who has been an extra on both GoT and on Vikings.  It was a pleasure talking to him during the tour.  We have since spotted him on the latest season of Vikings!

Tollymore Forest, Bryansford Road, Newcastle, BT33 0PR – GoT: Lands around & North of Winterfell: Wildling pit where the Night’s Watch find dismembered bodies in the opening scene.  Bridge where the Starks discover the Direwolf pups.

Leitrim Lodge, Mourne Mountains, Leitrim Lodge Car Park 114 Leitrim Road BT34 5XX – GoT: North of Winterfell

DOOR 4 – Blakes of the Hollow, 6 Church Street Enniskillen BT74 7EJ

Focus on Dragons show the rising dominance of the Targaryen’s, but also touches of the falcon of House Arryn

This is the most remote of all of the doors, and we had to make a specific effort to travel the 2.5 hours from Ballintoy to visit, but it was one of the most interesting pubs in terms of décor.  It is worth stopping at Pollnagllum Cave to see the filming location for Hollow Hill.  The cave is up an unpaved and winding track, but we saw a lovely deer in the road when we visited.  We visited the cave first, and stopped at the pub for an excellent sandwich before heading back to Ballintoy.  They do have a good restaurant onsite too if you had a little more time.

Pollnagllum Cave, Enniskillen BT74 5BF – GoT: Hollow Hill

DOOR 5 – Owens Bar, 50 Main Street Limavady, BT49 0EU

It’s all about the Night King and his army of walkers!

We spent quite a lot of our time in this coastal area (it was about 30 minutes’ drive from Ballintoy), particularly as the weather was so nice, we wanted to spend extra time at the lovely expansive beaches.  The Portstewart area would be another great place to base yourself for a trip and there are plenty of good restaurants and places to eat here.  We had a good lunch at Harry’s Shack, Portstewart Sands which is right on the beach with free parking on the beach for National Trust members.

Binevenagh, Limvady, Manannan Mac Lir Sea God statue: Gortmore View Point BT49 0FJ. Short hike from the car park. Also take a picture from the bottom of the cliffs. BT49 0JG – GoT: Dothraki Grasslands, North of Mereen, Essos.

Portstewart Sands, 116 Strand Road, Port Stewart BT55 7PG  – GoT: Coast of Dorne

Mussenden Temple – Downhill Demesne & Beach (NT) – National Trust property. Castlerock, Coleraine BT51 4RP). Parking is permitted on Downhill Beach. – GoT: Dragonstone

Places to eat: Harry’s Shack, Portstewart Sands. Free parking on the beach for NT members.

DOOR 6 – Fullerton Arms, 22 Main St, Ballintoy BT54 6LX

Drogon takes centre stage here, and the Dothraki stallion signifies their willingness to follow Daenerys across the Narrow Sea.

For leg 2 of our trip, we spent 5 nights at the Fullerton Arms in the small village of Ballintoy.  This proved a great central location for exploring the Causeway Coast, and was a fantastic B&B with recently renovated rooms.  You can do this trip from Belfast, but by splitting our trip between Belfast, Ballintoy and Castle Ward, it saved on us having long journeys each day and gave us more time to spend at these areas and to discover hidden gems that we might otherwise have missed.

Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim – GoT: Lordsport Harbour, Pyke & Dragonstone Beach

Carrick a rede bridge (National Trust ), 119 Whitepark Road BT54 6LS – GoT: Pyke

Dunlace Castle, 87 Dunlace Road, Bushmills BT57 8UY  – GoT: Pyke

Dunerick Castle, not a GoT location, but a very romantic ruin img_0137Larrybane quarry, used as overflow car park for Carrick a rede bridge – GoT: The Stormlands & Nagga’s Hill, Old Wyk & Dragonstone Cliffs


Giant’s Causeway, 44 Causeway Road, Bushmills (Visitor Centre is National Trust – not GoT location but a must visit.  No need to pay to visit, only pay to use the car park)img_0112

Places to eat: For a special treat, eat at the Bushmills Inn. For food near the Giant’s Causeway, you can get a huge bowl of chowder at the Smuggler’s Inn. The Fullerton Arms specialises in Strangford Lough Mussels. The Jawbox version which incorporated tumeric was fantastic. We had a heart breakfast at Bothy Coffee just near White sands Bay.  If you are in Ballycastle, grab a sourdough at the Ursa Minor Bakery.

DOOR 7 – Dark Hedges Estate, 141 Ballinlea Road, BT53 8px

The recently deceased three eyed raven & references to the fallen trees.

As mentioned at the start, the Dark Hedges was the most crowded of locations we visited.  Having driven past the spot on our way to Bushmills Distillery, we noticed that the parking situation was awful, with large 50 seater coaches everywhere and parked on the Dark Hedges road itself.  We didn’t even bother to stop, and so decided to stop there another day early in the morning.  We arrived at just after 7am one morning, and it was perfect.  No-one else was there and we got some incredible pictures.

The door itself used to be in the Gracehill House, but is now in the hotel next to Gracehill House. There is no atmosphere here and was not somewhere where you’d want to have a drink and so we literally just went in to get a photo and passport stamp, and made our way back to Bushmills for dinner.

Dark Hedges, Bregagh Rd, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX – GoT: The Kingsroad, North of Kings Landing

DOOR 8 – Mary McBrides Bar , 2 Main st, Cushendun BT44 0PH

Chronicles Arya’s journey to Braavos.

All of the areas near Cushendun were relatively close to Ballintoy.  Cushendon itself is the location of the famous cave where Melisandre gave birth to the shadow monster, and where in Season 8, Euron fought with Jaime.

We were again surprised by the diversity in the landscapes within this coastal region, which was surrounded by lush forested hills.  The coastline is incredible dramatic, and a boat trip is a must to fully appreciate its stark beauty.  We used Abhainn Cruise company for our sea safari and I would certainly recommend their trip! We had the boat to ourselves, and our captain took us to Rathlin Island for a lunch time stop, around the imposing basalt cliffs of Fair Head, and into the quiet cove of Murlough Bay.  We raised a glass of rum to Tirion as we took in the fine view.

After our sea safari, we returned by car to above Murlough Bay, and ventured down the narrow and steep single track to enable us to walk into Murlough Bay.  This was one of the most beautiful places we had ever visited, and it was so peaceful with very few people around.img_0239

Unfortunately, we were unable to get to Galboly, as the area was closed for filming, but we had a great day at Glenariff forest park where we walked the “Waterfall Walk” and stopped at Carnlough Harbour to see the place where Arya emerged from the water at Braavos.

It is definitely worth heading up to the top of Fair Head, as the views are spectacular!

Cushenden Caves, Ballymena BT44 0PG – GoT: Melisandre’s Cave, Stormlands & Jaime’s clash with Euron Greyjoy at Kings Landing

Slavers Bay & Rathlin Island Cruise (Abhainn Cruise) – GoT: Slavers Bay Essos, Dragonstone

Fair Head, Hikes available. Car park off the A2 signposted £2 – GoT: Dragonstone

Above Murlough Bay & Walk to Murlough Bay, via Torr Scenic Road – GoT: Renly’s camp, The Stormlands & Slavers Bay

Carnlough Harbour, BT44 0HQ – GoT: Braavos

Glenariff Forest Park, Glenariff BT44 0RG

The Hidden Village of Galboly, The Glens of Antrim (20 minutes from Glenariff. Route goes up to the right – parking along the road – 2 hours until 2pm) Closed for filming when we visitedGoT: The Arryn lands

Steensons, Seaview Hall, New Road, Glenarm Ballymena BT44 0AA – GoT: Jewellery makers for the show

Places to eat: Mary McBrides, Ice cream at Morelli’s Carnlough, Laragh Lodge, within Glenariff Park.

DOOR 9 – Ballycally Castle Hotel, Coast Road, Ballygalley, Larne BT402QZ

Echoes the Battle of the Bastards, and the heavy cost of victory for the Starks

We visited these locations on our way from Ballintoy back to Belfast, where we spent our last 2 nights of our trip. It is a very remote area, and plenty of fantastic landscapes (including an ancient volcano and an ancient bronze age burial site) to visit, and it is easy to see why this area was selected as a filming location for so many parts of the show.

Slemish Mountain, Shillanavogy Valley, Carnstroan Lane (Slemish Car Park) – GoT: Dothraki Sea, East of Pentos

Sallagh Braes, (24 minutes from Slemish) (Linford Car Park.) – GoT: The Riverlands, The Hound and Brother Ray the Septor’s Settlement

Linford Barrows, Not GoT, but fantastic bronze age burial site. Access from Linford Car Park img_0168Cairncastle, unnamed road, Larne BT40 2NF, not far from Ballygally – GoT: North of Winterfell, The Neck (on the road to Moat Cailin), North of Harrenhall

Loughareema Lake (The Vanishing Lake), just off the A2, Ballycastle BT54 6WL. Not a GoT location, but is a fascinating geological feature whereby the water of the lake seeps into the peat and disappears. There was no water in sight when we visited, but other times would see this as a large lake.

Places to eat: Ballygally Hotel.  Ancient castle with rumours of hauntings! A good place to stop for a bowl of Chowder.

Door 10 – Dark Horse, 30-34 Hill Street Belfast

Depicts the events in King’s Landing as Season 6 concludes


We only had two days in Belfast, but we managed to see most of what we wanted to see. We were disappointed that the Tapestry of Thrones had recently ended at the Ulster Museum, but it was fantastic to visit the GOT Exhibition where we met Andrew, from the GoT documentary, The Last Watch, who was our guide, and to see the decimated King’s Landing set from the car park.  We will be back soon when the studios are opened up to the public.

We chose to stay at the Titanic Hotel, which is housed in the old Harland & Wolf Drawing Rooms. It was a gorgeous hotel, and right next to the Titanic experience.  The bar was exquisite, and we enjoyed a couple of White Walker cocktails during our visit.  It is about 20 minutes into the centre of Belfast, but perfectly fine if you don’t mind the walk.  It was an excellent location for us, as we could park easily beneath the hotel and it was close to the ferry terminal for our trip home.


We would recommend stopping at St George’s Market for some food (where we met up with one of my old Uni friends and his gorgeous family), or watch some sport at Lavery’s (where we stopped to watch the England v Wales Rugby game, as James couldn’t possibly wait for a replay).  The Titanic experience is also a must for any trip to Belfast.img_9854

The Glass of Thrones

If you are in Belfast, then you must try and find the 6 Glass of Thrones windows dotted around the city.  You can find a route online and it is about a 1.8k walking trail through Belfast.

  1. The Stark – City Hall
  2. The Lannister – The ICC
  3. The Baratheon – Lagan Weir
  4. The Targaryen – The Odyssey
  5. The White Walker – The Titanic
  6. The Iron Throne – Titanic Slipways


Places to eat: The Dark Horse (try a “fifteen” bar, which is a tray bake made from digestive biscuits and marshmallows), The Yardbird Chicken, The Titanic Hotel Drawing Rooms, The Crown Gin Palace (gorgeously ornate bar and good traditional Irish food served upstairs), Bert’s Jazz Bar at the Merchant Hotel.

Other GoT locations – Lough Neah

On our way from the Downpatrick area up to the coastal region, we went via Lough Neah, and stopped at a few GoT locations on the way. Lough Neah is the largest lough in the UK.  The Antrim Castle Gardens were worth a visit, and we wished we had more time to explore the gardens.  We also stopped at Seamus Heaney’s Home Place, which is a must for literary geeks. This was a great place to stop for a light lunch.

Deerpark Bridge, Antrim Castle Gardens, Randalstown Road, Antrim BT41 4LH – GoT: Jaime & Brienne’s bridge

img_0067Toome Canal, 10 Railway Road, BT41 3TD – GoT: Old Valyrian Canal, Essos

Lough Neah – GoT: The Summer Sea img_0098

Shane’s Castle, BT41 4NE – GoT: Set for Winterfell – Moneyglass Estate – Closed for filming when we visited

Places to eat: Seamus Heaney’s Home Place, 45 Main Street, Bellaghy, Magherafelt BT45 8HT

Such a fantastic place – we will be back!



For full itinerary, see below:

Also, more information available at:


#RWC2019 GingerBreadOfHeaven On Tour – Japan Trip Highlights

All his bags are packed and he’s ready to go!

JRFU biscuit is incredibly excited about his imminent trip to Japan, and Japan’s win against Ireland has certainly whetted his appetite for some rugby. First South Africa in #RWC2015 & now we have a sequel to the Miracle in Brighton courtesy of the incredible defeat of Ireland! Biscuit will be backing the Brave Blossoms to reach the Quarters!!



Very jealous that mum & dad are in Japan for the Rugby World Cup!

But the JRFU gingerbread man is with them having the time of his life! Here he is enjoying #WALvFJI at RWC Oita.

Hopefully he will be at #WALvURU on Sunday… #typhoonhagibis


He made it! Very fortunate not to be caught up in the Typhoon. Thought very much with those impacted.

Another great rugby day out for the JRFU gingerbread man as he accompanied my parents to the #WALvURU match at Kumamoto.

He’s off on the bullet train tomorrow, and is looking forward to supporting both Wales & England at the quarter finals next weekend:)

P.s. He is so proud of the incredible performance by his fellow #Braveblossoms earlier in #JPNvSCO – what an end to the pool stage!


Japan biscuit travelled on the Bullet Train from Kyoto to Fukuoka via Hiroshima. He got to visit the Kyoto Tower and found himself in a traditional British Pub.

He also got to sample some sake and posed with a traditional umbrella in Japan. It wouldn’t be Japan without some Manga too! Cultured little fellow.

After some fab sightseeing, he was all ready for the Quarter Finals!

Thanks to mum and dad for humouring me by taking lots of pictures of him on his travels 🙂

Quarter Finals


Awesome result for England!

Japan biscuit was very pleased with his prime spot in RWC Oita stadium to witness the epic smash!

Let’s hope it’s a win for Wales tomorrow… Enjoy little dude!

QF2 #WALvFRA (and biscuit’s last day in Japan)

What. A. Game!

Japan biscuit has been a good luck charm for Wales & England this tournament. It’s 4/4 games for him as he now heads back to Wales… thanks mum and dad for taking him along for the ride.

Return Home

JRFU gingerbread man has returned home bearing gifts from his travels in Japan. Some great souvenirs from the matches he attended as well as some Japanese classics!

A big thank you / arigatou Japan for looking after him and making it such an incredible experience for him! Very jealous indeed!

#RWC2019 Final Round-Up – Crunch Time!!

20 teams and 7 weeks later, we are now left with four biscuits standing. New Zealand face Wales in the bronze medal final, and England face two-time champions South Africa in the final.

Friday 1st November Bronze Medal Final Kick-Off 9am GMT

#NZLvWAL FT40-17

Wales has a colossal task ahead of them, as they faced the All Blacks in the third place play off. Wales had not beaten the All Blacks since 1953, and so the odds were against them, but hopes were high that the team could do it for Gats in his last game in charge of Wales after an amazing 12 years.

The game started at pace, New Zealand scoring two quick tries, and Wales had to dig deep to try and defend against an angry All Blacks pack.

But it may have been a game too far for the Welsh, as the All Blacks cantered forward to claim the Bronze medal.

But it’s been an incredible journey and congratulations to Josh Adams who ended the tournament as the top try scorer with a total of 7 tries! We also say goodbye and thank you to Warren Garland, whose tenure over Wales comes to an end after 12 amazing years!

Llongyfarchiadau Cymru a #DiolchWarren

Saturday 2nd November Final Kick-Off 9am GMT

Let’s get ready to C-R-U-M-B-L-E!!!!!!!! Here we go, game 48/48, the finale of an amazing 7 weeks of rugby…

#ENGvRSA FT 12-32

Absolutely gutted for England, but an incredible performance by RSA to win the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time.

After such a sublime performance a week earlier against the All Blacks, England were refused room to play and were blocked by the Boks’ colossal defence only managing inches beyond the gain line. The strength and clinical superiority of the Springboks at the set piece left England scrambled and mauled in the scrum, helped in part by the early exit of Kyle Sinkler after a head injury in the first 3 minutes. The reliable boot of Pollard kept the scoreboard ticking away from England, and England’s hopes of a second World Cup were dashed by a two try flourish courtesy of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe.

It was a historic moment, as Siya Kolisi became the first South African captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup. For Kolisi, the journey to this moment has been unbelievable, and looks to give hope to millions in the townships of South Africa.

It wasn’t England’s day but what a tournament for them nonetheless. We had a good morning cheering Eddie’s men in the RWC Final despite the result.

Job well done for Siya Kolisi and the Springboks – worthy RWC2019 champions.

Arigatou Japan

And that’s a wrap! It’s been a mesmerising tournament, and the Japanese have embraced the fans and the sport in a way that no other host nation has done before. It’s been a championship of contrasts: incredible highs and terrible tragedies, but through it all, the rugby community has brought nations together for the better.

Very sad that the tournament has come to an end, but a huge “Thank you” to Japan. For everything.


#RWC2019 Semi-Finals Round-Up

Another incredible weekend at the #RWC2019 – Here is your Gingerbread of Heaven Semi Finals Round Up…

Saturday 26 October, kick off 9am BST (Yokohama)


WOW! Just wow!! Incredible performance by England who crushed the All Blacks in a thrilling world cup semi-final! Whilst there was no question that England could defeat New Zealand today, I am pretty confident no-one could have foreseen such a resounding victory for Eddie’s men. New Zealand were unashamedly out-played. Out-classed. Both physically (and more importantly) psychologically; Farrell’s defiant stand-off against the Haka rattling the All Blacks to their core well before Nigel Owens blew the first whistle.

This was arguably England’s finest ever performance against the All Blacks, but it will mean nothing unless England continue their colossal charge into the final 90 minutes of the tournament.

So… we found our ourselves half way to an historic all Northern Hemisphere final. Could Wales oblige in their battle with the Boks?

Sunday 27 October, Kick off 9am GMT (Yokohama)

#WALvRSA FT16-19

Absolutely gutted for Wales, but very proud of their efforts today.

It is often a game of fine margins, and it doesn’t get much closer than this. It was a brutally intense game from start to finish, and Wales just couldn’t pry itself away from the iron arm-wrestle of the Springboks and into a more expansive performance that could have set up the greatest RWC final clash of all time. But it wasn’t to be Wales’ day, and RSA pipped the win, giving them the chance to win the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.

Well done to RSA who face England in the final next weekend.

It’s been an incredible journey for Warren Gatland and the Welsh team over the past 12 years, and there is still time to make history against the All Blacks on Friday! Diolch Cymru!

Nid oedd hi’n ddiwrnod Cymru heddiw ond rydym ni i gyd yn prowd iawn a ymdrechi’r tim dros y twrnament. Diolch Gatland, Alun Wyn Jones a gweddill y bois. Pob lwc yn erbyn y crysau duon Dydd Gwener. De Africa sy’n mynd ymlaen i wynebu Lloegr yn y gem terfynnol

And then there were 2…

The RWC2019  finalists are confirmed: An England vs Boks showdown in Yokohama on Saturday, 9am GMT.

Wales take on #AllBlacks for the 3rd place playoff on Friday, 9am GMT.

#CarryThemHome #WearTheRose  #GingerBreadOfHeaven

#RWC2019 Quarter Final Knock Outs – Round Up

A cracking weekend of knock-out rugby where eight teams battled for a place in the Semi Finals.

Saturday 19th October

#ENGvAUS FT40-16

KO 8:15am (Oita Stadium)


England Rugby smash the Wallabies in an epic Quarter Final in #RWCOita !

England progress to their first semi final since 2007. Well done England!! Congrats to Kyle Sinkler who gets his first RWC try and to Jonny May on scoring two tries on his fiftieth cap.

Good luck to Ireland who are up next against the All Blacks…

#WearTheRose #CarryThemHome

#NZLvIRE FT46-14

KO 11:15am (Tokyo Stadium)

It was ultimately a heavy defeat for IRE as they failed to conjure the magic of their two previous performances against the All Blacks. The RWC Semi Finals continue to elude them. There was no question that the better team won, and the All Blacks were ruthlessly clinical. We have probably seen the tournament’s best team, and it will take a monumental performance to beat the New Zealand rugby wizards.

It would have been incredible had the result been different, as today we say goodbye to Rory Best and Joe Schmidt. Two great figures of World Rugby who have achieved so much for IrishRugby whatever the result today. Really pleased to see them appreciated by the Tokyo crowd.

We now have our first RWC2019 semi final contenders confirmed for next weekend… #ENGvNZL

Sunday 20th October

#WALvFRA FT 20-19

KO 8:15am (Oita Stadium)

Phew! Never in my life have I been so relieved to hear the final gong sounding! Wales have, by the skin of their teeth, held off a tenacious French team to secure a place in the #RWC2019 semi finals!

Unfortunately, the cliche rang true, as France decided to show up and play the rugby we all know they can. It was looking like Wales could be having a de ja vu moment in the first half where Moriarty was left off with a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. But Wales were thrown a lifeline early in the second, as, in a moment of madness, Vahaamahina launched a reckless elbow into Wainwright’s head, which saw him exiled, quite rightly, from the field, and has since announced his retirement from the game.

But even with a weakened opposition, Wales felt the pressure and only just managed to limp over the line. Like the Semi Final in 2011, the best team probably lost today, but Wales will be pleased they shook off that 2011 loss with a result today.

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t inspiring rugby, and there’s a lot to do if Wales want a shot in the final.


KO 11:15am (Tokyo Stadium)

It was not the fairy tale ending we were all hoping for, and Japan couldn’t break the Boks to reproduce that miraculous 2015 win. Japan gave it their all against a monstrous South African side who didn’t give the hosts any space to score the spectacular tries we have all grown accustomed to.

RSA progress to face WAL next weekend & will be a tough opposition.

Japan have played with such passion & integrity over the past 21 days & we can look forward to plenty more from them on the World Rugby stage.

Arigatou Japan, you have been amazing!

Semi Finals

And then there were four…

For the first time since 1991, we have two home nations in the Semi Finals, so plenty to cheer for next weekend. Don’t miss the Wales game on Sunday as the clocks go forward an hour to GMT.

Saturday 26 October

#ENGvNZL Kick off 09:00 BST

International Stadium Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama City

Sunday 27 October

#WALvRSA Kick off 09:00 GMT

International Stadium Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama City


#RWC2019 Week 4 Round-up

What a week it’s been at the Rugby World Cup as the pool matches drew to a close. Typhoon Hagibis caused havoc and destruction, but Japan has inspired the world with their resilience both on and off the rugby field.

Tuesday 8th October


A spectacle of tries for the Springboks as they eased their way into the QFs.

Josh Larsen’s red card (Canada’s 4th in RWC history, and the most for any one nation) made it easier, with Reinach scoring a speedy hat trick and RSA winning all 47 of their RWC line outs. But the biggest taking point came with Larsen’s heartfelt apology to the South Africans in their changing room, showing how much respect there is in the game.

Wednesday 9th October

#ARGvUSA FT47-17

This is the first time Argentina not reached the QFs since 2003, but the Pumas have, at least, secured a place at the 2023 tournament with a decisive win against the USA.


Scotland thrashed Pool C underdogs Russia with 9 tries and head towards their final game against Japan (if it proceeds, that is) with elevated confidence they hope will see them through to the QFs.

#WALvFJI FT27-17

Wales survived a war of attrition against a brutally powerful Fiji team giving us all a scare in the process! However, they manage a slender win and progress into the QFs with some significant injury concerns

It was also Japan gingerbread man’s first match at Oita, as he accompanied my parents to the game! #Gingerbreadontour

Friday 11th October


As Typhoon Hagibis approached, Australia struggled to keep Georgia at bay in the challenging weather conditions. After a slender half time score they managed to secure a bonus point win to guarantee their place in the QFs.

Australia will lose top spot in Pool D unless Wales fail to win against Uruguay on Sunday.

Saturday 12th October

#NZLvITA – Cancelled 0-0

The first match to fall at the hands of Typhoon Hagibis was the game between the All Blacks and Italy and both teams were awarded 2 points for a draw. Italy were certainly disappointed, as they could technically still qualify for he knockouts had they managed to beat the men in black.

A tough decision, but safety of spectators and players must be the priority.

It’s been a pleasure watching Italy over the past few weeks and we say goodbye to legends Sergio Parisse, Leonardo Ghiraldini & Alessandro Zanni.

#ENGvFRA – Cancelled 0-0

As Typhoon Hagibis gained mass and power over the Pacific, World Rugby took the decision to cancel those of Saturday’s matches due to be held in the wider Tokyo area. Both teams were awarded 2 points, but it made little difference to the team (as France seemed happy enough to stay in second place behind England). Lots of disappointed fans in Tokyo of course, but there was no denying the danger posed by the typhoon as all those in Tokyo hankered down and hoped for the storm to pass.


Impressive performance by the Irish despite having been reduced to 14 men before half time. But it was a disappointing match for Samoa and the loss will see them having to qualify for RWC2023.

Ireland are now into the QFs but will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of tomorrow’s #JPNvSCO match to see in which place they progress.

Sunday 13th October

#NAMvCAN – Cancelled 0-0

Late on Saturday evening (BST) the announcement came that the match would not be played. Not the end to the tournament either of these sides wanted, as they both hoped for their first win today. But Typhoon Hagibis has been a destructive force and there was no possibility of the match continuing. However, Canada used their extra time to good use and spent the day helping locals with the area’s recovery efforts. This is what rugby is all about.

#USAvTGA FT19-31

After a solid start from the Eagles, Tonga secured the victory. We say goodbye to both the USA and Tonga today and it will be sad to see them go. We’ll miss the Sipi Tau!

The spirit shown by the Eagles shows how rugby could be transformed if the USA could get on board, and here’s to hoping that the 2027 tournament will be hosted by America…

#WALvURU FT35-13

Phew! It was not to be another Pool D upset. Wales survived against a determined Uruguay securing their top spot position and progress to face France next week.

Japan gingerbread man was there too, accompanying my parents at Kumamoto Stadium. He even spent some time beforehand at the FanZone.

He’s off on the Bullet Train tomorrow, and is looking forward to supporting both England and Wales at the Oita Stadium quarter finals next weekend:)

#JPNvSCO FT28-21

It has been a traumatic few days for Japan, having suffered its worst typhoon in living memory, where at least 35 people have already lost their lives and many more injured or unaccounted for. The game was facing cancellation, and World Rugby facing legal action from Scottish rugby, but even after an earthquake and surrounding water levels remaining high, the resilience and dedication of this wonderful country meant that the match went ahead as scheduled.

It was billed as the game of the tournament so far, as Japan were in prime position to progress to the knockout stages with only Scotland standing in its way. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. What a game!

To deny Japan a place in the quarter finals, Scotland needed to win four match points more than Japan (which just after half time meant that Scotland needed to win the game by 8 or more points and score a try bonus point), but Japan wasn’t going to let Scotland deprive them of their first appearance in a RWC quarter final, and their performance was nothing short of brilliant. The tempo didn’t wane from the starting whistle to the final gong, and Japan controlled the melee with crushing precision and determination, wearing the suffering of their nation on their sleeves.

Japan’s success is not a fluke or a miracle, but the culmination of four years of grit, hard work and conditioning. Today, Japan showed the world why it truly deserves a seat at the top table of World Rugby and I can’t wait to see them play a re-match of the 2015 “miracle” against South Africa next weekend!

In what was a bittersweet day for the Japanese, after silences held before the anthems at all three of today’s matches, Japanese captain, Michael Leitch, dedicated the historic win to all those impacted by Typhoon Hagibis.

Final Pool Standings

And then there were eight… After a dramatic weekend, the #RWC2019 quarter finalists are confirmed. Here’s how the tables looked at the end of week 3…

Congratulations to Wales, England, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, France and Australia.

All four QFs will be played next weekend:

Saturday 19th Oct

#ENGvAUS – 8:15am BST (#RWCOita)

#NZLvIRE – 11:15am BST (#RWCTokyo)

Sunday 20th October

#WALvFRA – 8:15am BST (#RWCOita)

#JPNvRSA – 11:15am BST (#RWCTokyo)


#RWC2019 Week 3 Round-Up

Monday 30 September 2019


Kick off 11:15 BST

Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City

Scotland’s RWC campaign is back on track as they secured a bonus point win against Samoa. After an early flurry of points for the Scots, it took them right until the final minutes to get their fourth try in what was a hot and humid Kobe stadium.

Wednesday 02 October 2019


Kick off 08:45 BST

Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium

It could have been a bad day at the office for the French, as the USA took advantage of France’s indiscipline coming within three points of them as they approached the 64th minute mark. But there late tries saved the game for France, as they regained their composure to win with a bonus point with a far more flattering score line than their performance deserved.


Kick off 11:15 BST

Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture

There was never any doubt who would be victorious in this Pool B game, and there were no upsets today with all three Barrett brothers scoring tries. Whilst the men in black are “just guys in shorts playing rugby”, they are unreservedly the best guys in shorts playing rugby.

Although the game itself warranted no specific comment, it will be remembered as the first World Cup game in which a planned donned Rugby Google’s. Ian McKinley has been pioneering these for some time, but now Ardie Savea joined him in this historic moment in World Rugby. Such an important addition to the game by allowing players with eye conditions to continue competing and enjoying the sport safely.

Thursday 03 October

#GEOvFJI FT10-45

Kick off 06:15 BST

Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka Prefecture, Higashiosaka City

At the end, it was a hammering for Georgia. But the floodgates didn’t open until the fifty minute mark, when Fiji finally unveiled their flair and showed us how dangerous they can really be if they put their minds to it. The convincing win has set the bar for Fiji’s critical Pool D match against Wales on Wednesday.


Kick off 11:15 BST

Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City

It was a comfortable win for the Irish, but it was by no means a confident win for them, and their injury woes continue as Sexton was taken off the field at half time. Ireland will progress to the Quarterfinals, but there is some work for them to do if they are to progress beyond that.

Friday 04 October


Kick off 10:45 BST

Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka

After a dismal 2015 RWC, the Boks are back and Italy faced the brunt of their clinical set pieces on the field. Italy’s already difficult task was made more so with Lovotti being sent off just after half time. South Africa took full advantage of the dismissal scoring plenty of tries, two of which from the brilliant Kolbe either side of the half time break. Unless Italy can pull off a miraculous win against the All Blacks next week, Italy’s World Cup campaign is over. Furthermore, title hopefuls will not fancy their chances in the knock-outs against this formidable Boks pack and it is great to see these rugby giants back on form.

Saturday 05 October

#AUSvURU FT45-10

Kick off 06:15 BST

Oita Stadium, Oita

Australia top Pool D after a seven try win against a spirited Uruguay side. Wales’ game against Fiji on Wednesday will decide whether wales or Australia finish top of the table.

#ENGvARG FT39-10

Kick off 09:00 BST

Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo

A bonus point win for England, made all the easier after Argentina was reduced to 14 men after a first half red card for Tomas Lavanini. This is the fifth red card of the tournament. The new high tackle rule has brought with it a corresponding referee crackdown on dangerous tackles and the percentage of all time ever red cards of only 17 since the World Cup started in 1987 is at an all time high. We are likely to see this figure increase further over the next few weeks, and it is quite possible we will see the issuing of a red card having a significant impact on the outcome of a match during the knockout stages.

This win does now mean England have guaranteed their place in the Quarter finals, the first of the contenders to do so.

#JPNvSAM FT 38-19

Kick off 11:30 BST

City of Toyota Stadium, Aichi Prefecture, Toyota City

Another incredible performance by the Brave Blossoms. They remained patient and disciplined to the end, securing a critical bonus point in extra time. The win means that they could lose to Scotland and get through provided they get at least one bonus point. Of course, they will be focussed on the win, but with the table continuing to remain wide open, all eyes will be on Pool A results this week…

Sunday 06 October


Kick off 05:45 BST

Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo

After Namibia took the lead within the first few minutes and keeping the @allblacks on their toes for a short while, New Zealand regained control over the game with a crushing result.

#FRAvTGA FT23-21

Kick off 08:45 BST

Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto City

France are through to the quarterfinals but they scraped a win in a thrilling match against Tonga. The first half was very much a French affair, but Tonga stepped up the pace in the second half falling oh so short of the deserving win. Next week will see France and England go head to head to decide the two top spots in Pool C.

We are now coming up to the last week of pool games, and it is crunch time for a number of teams, all looking to secure a place in the quarter finals!

#GingerBreadOfHeaven #RWC2019

#RWC2019 Week 2 Round-Up

Monday 23rd September

#WALvGEO FT43-14 (Pool D)

Kick off 11:15am, Toyota Stadium

After controversy off the pitch, Wales kicked off their RWC2019 campaign with a flurry of tries, banking a bonus point by half time. A rejuvenated Georgia answered Wales’ first half dominance with two tries of their own in the second, but it was not enough, and Wales had the final word with two more tries to add to their total tally of 6 tries. A promising start for Wales.

#RUSvSAM FT9-34 (Pool A)

Kick-off 11:15am BST, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya City

An incredible and unexpected first half score as Russia led by 1 point (6-5). Even at 50minutes, it remained a one point game, but Russia was ultimately unable to take full advantage of Samoa’s two yellow cards leaving Samoa plough forward and ahead for the win.

Wednesday 25th September

#FJIvURU FT27-30 (Pool D)

Kick off 06:15 BST, Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Iwate Prefecture, Kamaishi City

Wednesday morning presented RWC2019’s first upset, as Uruguay stormed their way to a spectacular win against Fiji. It came right down to the wire, and the best the Fijians could do was secure the losing bonus point after the gong had sounded. This is Uruguay’s third ever World Cup victory and the last time they did this was 16 years ago!

No-one was expecting such a passionate performance by the tournament underdogs, but Uruguay’s historic win has certainly made Pool D an interesting contest…

Thursday 26th September

#ITAvCAN FT48-7 (Pool B)

Kick off 08:45 BST, Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka City

The Azzurri get the RWC2019’s two top scores so far with a punishing defeat over Canada. A missed kick by Canna meant Italy just missed out on hitting the tournament’s first half century score. Tommaso Allan, however, became the first player to hit 20 points.

#ENGvUSA FT45-7 (Pool C)

Kick off 11:45 BST, Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City

Scoring a total of seven tries, with 2 of those by Cokanasiga either side of half time, England comfortably bagged their second bonus point pool game. The Eagles secured a last minute try avoiding being the only team in World Cup history to score zero points in a match. The game saw the tournament’s first red card following a reckless shoulder barge on Owen Farrell by John Quill, which subsequently left Quill with a three match ban. This citing adds to the totally tally of three bans we have seen in the tournament for high tackles so far, following the introduction of new new (and much needed) safety regulations. Whilst pundits, fans and squads continue to argue over whether decisions were right or wrong, this red card was as certain as it gets.

Saturday 28th September

#ARGvTGA FT28-12 (Pool C)

Kick off 05:45 BST, Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka Prefecture, Higashiosaka

With the bonus point secured in the first half, Los Pumas looked strong against a spirited Tongan second half performance.

#JPNvIRE FT19-12 (Pool A)

Kick off 08:15 BST, Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture

Well, if they haven’t gone and bloody done it again! First South Africa in RWC2015 & now we have a sequel to the “Miracle in Brighton” courtesy of this incredible defeat of Ireland in 2019! Another iconic World Cup upset from our hosts, the Giant Slayers, with a defeat of the team ranked second in the world!

I wasn’t expecting to be breaking the Irish biscuit today. What an incredible result for the Brave Blossoms and I think I speak for everyone else that we are all backing them to the Quarters!! Pool A is officially wide open!

#RSAvNAM FT57-3 (Pool B)

Kick off 10:45 BST, City of Toyota Stadium, Aichi Prefecture, Toyota City

No upset for the final game of the day, with a much improved South Africa hitting the first 50 points of the tournament.

Although Namibia failed to score a try, the 54 point margin is significantly smaller than their previous encounters with RSA, evidence that the so-called “minnow” teams are closing the gap with higher ranked sides, which can only be good for the future of the game.

Sunday 29th September

#GEOvURU FT33-7 (Pool D)

Kick off 06:15 BST, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama Prefecture, Kumagaya City

After a thrilling victory over Fiji on Wednesday, Uruguay was unable to defend Georgia’s superior set-pieces and relentless attacking play no matter what they tried. Georgia picked up a bonus point for their five tries and moved up the table out of the bottom spot.

#AUSvWAL FT25-29 (Pool D)

Kick off 08:45 BST, Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo

My goodness, that was a nail biter!! Australia chased Wales’ first half lead right into the final seconds, but Wales held tight to secure their first RWC victory against the Wallabies since 1987! Whilst victory against Uruguay will guarantee Wales a place in the quarterfinals, Wales will be eyeing the Table top spot. Da lawn bois!

Week 2 has been incredible, with 2 upsets to its name!