#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!


#RWC2019 Week 1 Round-Up

After a four year wait, the Rugby World Cup kicked off on Friday evening with a visually spectacular opening ceremony celebrating the iconic culture and traditions of Japan with Mount Fuji (and Richie McCaw) at its heart. With the return of the Webb Ellis Cup to the fold, the stage was set for the tournament’s first match.

#JPNvRUS – FT30-10 (Pool A)

Kick off 11:45am BST , Tokyo Stadium

What a cracker of an opening game! The tournament’s opening try come courtesy of Russian winger Kirill Golosnitskiy, giving the Russians a bold early lead. The underdogs tested the hosts throughout, but the #BraveBlossoms responded decisively to secure a victory with a hat trick from the brilliantly nimble Kotaro Matshushima. Having been the first team ever to win three group games and not make it to the knockouts in 2015, Japan is not taking any chances, and scoops up a four-try bonus point.

Saturday 21st September

#AUSvFJI – FT39-21 (Pool D)

Kick off 5.45am BST, Sapporo Dome

After an early wake up call, first up on Super Saturday was a Southern hemisphere showdown between Australia and Fiji.

The Fijians looked formidable for much of the match this morning, and will certainly be a worry for the rest of Pool D (Fiji has, of course, derailed Wales on a number of occasions). But the Wallabies rediscovered their rhythm and turned the game around in their favour.

#FRAvARG – FT23-21 (Pool C)

Kick off 8.15am BST, Tokyo Stadium

An exhilarating clash between France and Los Pumas! The game went right down to the wire but France managed to pip to the lead with a drop goal from CamilleLopez. Argentina looked to steal the win right in the final minutes with a great long-range effort by Emiliano Boffelli, but didn’t quite make it over the posts. The Pumas did, however, secure a coveted bonus point.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Argentinian “Pumas” nickname stuck after an error by a South African journalist in 1965 who mistook the Jaguar on their shirt for a Puma…

#NZLvRSA – FT23-13 (Pool B)

Kick off 10:45am BST, International Stadium Yokohama

Super Saturday’s finale saw rugby’s two top tier heavyweights demonstrating their sporting prowess on the field. A thrilling clash of the titans saw the balance of power oscillate between the All Blacks and the Bokke until the men in black did what was needed (as indeed they usually do) to secure the victory. Can New Zealand make it three World Championship titles in a row? Stay tuned to find out…

Sunday 22nd September

#ITAvNAM – FT47-22 (Pool B)

Kick off 06:15 BST

Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka

Another early morning start, but it proved worthwhile as we were treated to a try feat as the Italians fended off a particularly spirited Namibian side.

#IREvSCO – FT27-3 (Pool A)

Kick off 08:45 BST, International Stadium Yokohama

It was a woeful performance by Scotland in a biblically wet Yokohama, and the Irish were taking no prisoners and took full advantage, running riot over their Six Nations foe.

As a result, second place in Pool A is up for grabs, and Japan will certainly be fancying their chances…

#ENGvTGA – FT35-3 (Pool C)

Kick off 11:15 BST, Sapporo Dome, Sapporo

Still some work to do for England, but a great start for Eddie’s men with a bonus point win over Tonga. A good and tough performance by Tonga, but England welcomed back the powerhouse and Man of the Match, Manu Tuilagi.

After the first weekend of the tournament, England and Ireland are the only teams not to have conceded a try, but we still have plenty of rugby to look forward to next week, starting with Wales vs Georgia tomorrow.


The World in Union: #RWC2019 Japan

The 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off today in Tokyo, as hosts Japan take on Pool A rivals Russia. This is a completely new territory for the Rugby World Cup, and is the first time a World Cup has been hosted by a country other than one of the Tier 1 Nations. There is no doubt that the culture of Japan will bring a whole new dimension to the tournament, and it is going to be a cracker!

Legend has it that the game was invented by Rugby School student, William Webb Ellis, when he decided to pick up the ball during a regular football (soccer) game, thus inventing the egg-shaped ball game we all love today. The rest, as they say, is history.

The RWC represents the pinnacle of the international game, with the world’s elite players from twenty nations scrummaging it out to get their hands on the glorious Webb Ellis Cup.

This is the ninth tournament since it’s inception in 1987, and only four nations have ever won the coveted title: New Zealand (1987, 2011, 2015), Australia (1991, 1999), South Africa (1995, 2007), and England (2003).

Rugby has always been played in the spirit of unity, and taking this as its core theme, the tournament’s logo brings together the rising sun and Mt. Fuji with the World Rugby logo. The World in Union.

Over the next seven weeks #RWC2019 will be a global festival of rugby as we will be entertained by a total of 40 group stage games, and 8 knock-out games (quarter finals (played out by the top two teams of each of the four groups), the semi finals and bronze final) which includes the final showdown to be played on Saturday 2nd November at the Yokohama Stadium, Kanagawa.  In the UK, all 48 games will be available on ITV channels.

Here are your 2019 biscuit competitors:

Pool A


Pool B


Pool C


Pool D


May the best biscuit win!

#RWC2019 #Rugby #GingerBreadOfHeaven

OTD 20 July 1969: We came in peace for all mankind – An Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Party

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first ever Moon landing.   Last weekend, we celebrated this epic achievement at our annual Summer party.

But before we look back at the festivities, here is a short history of the missions’ genesis and its legacy…


We choose to go to the Moon

In 1962, President J. F. Kennedy gave NASA the mission to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth by the end of the decade.  The Americans were in the middle of a “Cold War” with the Soviet Union, and the pressure was on after the Russians launched Sputnik, the first satellite into orbit in 1957, and in 1961, launched Yuri Gagarin into space.

Kennedy’s Moon-shot challenge elevated the stakes of the Space Race, and the two countries were propelled forwards to become the first to reach the Moon.


We have a lift off!

On July 16th, 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 set-off aboard a behemoth rocket called the Saturn V (which stood 363 ft high, and had the power of a nuclear bomb), for their 3-day trip to the Moon.


The Eagle has landed

On July 20th, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on another world, making history as his “one small step” off the lunar module represented a “giant leap for mankind”.  Buzz Aldrin joined him shortly afterwards, and the two of them collected Moon rock samples and carried out a number of scientific experiments.  After just a few hours on the Moon’s surface, Neil & Buzz returned to the Moon’s orbit to rendezvous with Mike Collins, who had stayed behind in the Command Module, Columbia.  The crew finally splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 3 days later, becoming global celebrities after approximately 650 million people globally tuned in to watch their epic achievement.



A collective effort

Whilst the astronauts themselves got all of the glory, the Moon landing would not have been possible without the support and hard work of over 400,000 other men and women who worked tirelessly to fulfil Kennedy’s ambitious goal.  These people included: NASA employees, scientists, engineers and software programmers, with some notable contributors including:

  • Gene Kranz  Flight Director
  • Katherine Johnson  Human Computer
  • Margaret Hamilton  Software engineer
  • Von Braun  Rocket scientist


The end of the Space Race

Only 5 more crewed missions went to the Moon after Apollo 11, and the last man to leave the Moon was Gene Cernan, in 1972 (Apollo 17).  Even though we haven’t been back to the Moon since then, we have continued to explore our Solar System and beyond, including:

  • We developed the re-usable Space Shuttle
  • People have been living on the ISS since the year 2000
  • The Voyager missions have now left our Solar System
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has given us incredible insight into the Universe
  • We have landed on a comet (67P)
  • We have sent many rovers to explore Mars


The legacy of Apollo

The legacy of the Moon landing continues to influence politics, science and pop culture to this day.  The Moon landing had arguably the most influence on the environmental movement and in the advancement of technology. 

The pictures of the Earth taken by Apollo 8 (“Earthrise”) & Apollo 17 (“Blue Marble”) highlighted the Earth’s fragility and true uniqueness, and it was said that “on the way to the Moon, we discovered the Earth”. 

The Apollo programme made micro-electronics more affordable, and led to the development of the pocket calculator and the smart devices we all use today.  Rich business-men have been inspired to create their own space companies, including:

  • Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) – Blue Origin
  • Richard Branson (Virgin Atlantic) – Virgin Galactic
  • Elon Musk (PayPal founder) – SpaceX


Back to the Moon

NASA recently announced that it will be sending crewed flights to the Moon by 2024 and they will build a space station that will be the gateway for future missions to Mars. The new lunar programme is called, Artemis, the Greek God and Apollo’s sister.   I can’t even start to express how excited I am to be able to follow this next step in humanity’s space adventures.


Celebrating Apollo 11


As we celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Moon Landing, we had plenty to get our party started for the big five-oh this Summer, and had a blast with family and friends.  Here’s a brief “how-to”:


Welcome to Mission Control!

Our invitations were designed by Ollie and Lulu from Etsy, and we found some vintage US postage stamp for the envelopes.


Re-creating the Summer of ‘69

Reflecting the patriotism and national interests synonymous with the Space Race was an easy task, and involved adding plenty of the Star Spangled Banners around the house and garden.   We covered our dining room with a foil backdrop, representing the innovative new foils developed by NASA to withstand the extremes of space. Finally, it wouldn’t be an Apollo party without a life-size cut-out of the legend, Buzz Aldrin, and so we set one of these up next to the buffet table.

We also set up our 1969 Dansette Prince with some original Moon Landing vinyl and a Pana-Vue Automatic kitted out with an Apollo 11 commemorative slide deck to add some authenticity to the room. Thanks to Clare for the awesome blue orchids that looks fab in our MGM cocktail glasses and Diesel astronaut vase:)


We pulled together a Spotify “Apollo 11 50th Party” soundtrack mix, comprising of a selection of the songs actually played by the Apollo 11 crew on their 8 day mission to the Moon and a mixed genre of “moon-themed” tunes thrown in for good measure.


Retro snacks & hydration station

We served traditional American fare, including hot dogs, mac & cheese and pulled pork, and served pineapple and cheese sticks Sputnik style.  One of our friends was celebrating a birthday, and so we created a moon cake especially for the occasion.  For desert, we re-created the planting of the flag scene using Lego spacemen and edible Rice Krispie moon-rocks and served retro Tunnock teacakes and Milky Ways. As we were blessed with an unusually sunny day, we also offered classic Zoom lollies to our guests.


As those of you who have read my blog before will know, a party is not a party unless it involves a box of dry-ice (available from ChilliStick).  We set up a well-stocked and spaced themed “hydration station”, featuring Moon Shot gin (where its botanicals have actually travelled into space), Aviation Gin, Special Edition Kronenbourg 1664 and a selection of space worthy wines.


It was a pleasure to have another reason to use our amazing Libbey Apollo glasses which document the missions of Apollo 11, 12, 13 & 14.


Mission Log

Two of our lovely goddaughters did a fantastic job compiling a memory book for us, using a vintage-style FujiFilm Instax camera. It was so lovely to spend the afternoon with friends and family.


Inspiring the next generation of space scientists

We had a few kids coming along to the party, and we set up some activities to help keep them occupied during the day.  We made a “Shoot for the Moon” Corn-hole game using a panel left over from our new kitchen and gave everyone a book about space.  We also set up our trusted projector in the shed and showed the recent BBC documentary, “8 Days to the Moon”. 


Thank you all for coming and here is a small selection of the wonderfully thoughtful gifts we received.


What the Moon Landing means to me


I have always had an incredible passion for all things space. Whilst I will never be a scientist or an engineer, I still find it awe-inspiring to think about what so many men and women have achieved on our behalf over the past five decades.

We have had the pleasure to meet some amazing astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin, Chris Hadfield, the late Alan Bean and Bruce McCandless.   We use the term “legend” far too often these days, but these men are genuine legends, having put their lives on the line for the sake of discovery and progress.


We were also very lucky to visit the Kennedy Space Centre in 2012 just after the retirement of the Space Shuttle programme, and got to see the iconic, Discovery space craft being prepped in the magnificent Vehicle Assembly Building.  This was a total surprise to us, as the tour guide didn’t tell us the shuttle was at the VAB, and I could hardly contain myself when I caught a glimpse of NASA’s most dependable work-horse.


More recently we visited an exhibition of our very own Tim Peak’s space capsule and space suit, and Tim is doing some incredibly work to engage with the next generation of space engineers and astronauts.


We were also very proud to be able to contribute to the restoration of the historic Mission Control centre in Houston, which recently re-opened in time for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Without Mission Control, it is unlikely NASA would have landed on the Moon in 1969.


I can only hope that one day we will get the opportunity to see a live launch of a space rocket, which by all accounts is a sight to behold.  It would be fantastic to get to see NASA’s newest rocket, the SLS (Space Launch System), which will rival the majesty of the largest machine ever built by humans, the Saturn V.


It was very fitting that we experienced a partial lunar eclipse on the 16th July, exactly 50 years from the day Apollo 11 launched from Cape Canaveral and making us all gaze up and appreciate the splendour of our closest neighbour.


I hope that the new Artemis missions will serve to inspire a new generation to have a keen interest in science and space, in the same way that the Space Shuttle missions sparked my love of space, and the moon landing did for the generation before me.  Here’s to the next 50 years of space exploration!