So I’ve dragged myself out of three days of self imposed rugby mourning and I’m back in the real world. The aftermath to Ireland’s expected departure from the world cup wasn’t pretty and the trip back from Paris was a subdued affair.
Speaking of subdued affairs it seems in Paris the whole world cup has hardly been acknowledged. I arrived in Paris expecting bunting, posters, rugby themed everything but instead was greeted by an indifferent Paris (although we did go to a fancy bakers who were making rugby ball shaped breads!). Initially I thought to myself, the scale and budget of France is amazing that it can host a tournament of this size and function without “blinking an eyelid”!
I then realised that it wasn’t so much the sublime organistaional skills of Le Francais that pulled off this logistical nightmare, it was the fact that not much was planned or was going on in the city. They had a big rugby ball hanging from the Eiffel tower, some banners running down the Champs Elysee and that was about it as far as I could tell. On Saturday we made it to the rugby village located by the Trocadero in the shadow of the Eiffel tower. I had read that this was the hub of activity for the world cup. The blurb promised rugby exhibits, workshops and the like. It looked good on the walk up, artwork representing each country, big posters of the key players (POC and ROG were there looking menacing, I wonder if they’ve been taken down since?) and a good crowd of people milling about.
The village itself actually turned out to be a large marquee which smelt of portaloos and consisted of bars selling Heineken with a small desk for official mechandise in the corner. There were TV screens everywhere showing the Australia v. Canada game. That was it. I may have missed something or arrived at the wrong time but personally I found it very disappointing. I hate being negative about the whole thing because I actually had a great time, I just think they could have put a little more effort into it. I suppose things will pick up closer to the finals and the city will come alive for the final itself.
But for those of us who don’t make it out of the group phase, a little bunting wouldn’t have gone amiss!