This rugby reveller has several names – Charlie boy, the Prince of Ghana or, as his mother prefers to call him, Charles Abban. Whatever you wish to call him, though, just make sure he can’t hear – unless you’ve got the banter to fight back. He plays rugby as well as watches and has the wit of an award winning, albeit bent, head of the courts.
The 6 Nations Tournament is upon us again. After disappointing rugby World Cup campaigns for Ireland, Scotland and England, this weekend just gone offered those teams a chance for redemption. Wales snatched a late win against Ireland, arguably the game of the weekend with a final score of 23-21. France beat Italy 30-12, which is no surprise, following their excellent late form in the World Cup. And England narrowly won 13-6 in a game against Scotland, which (especially as an England supporter) was hard to watch. Still, a win is a good start to the tournament, especially for a team with so few combined international caps.
It reminded me of watching the two teams in 2010 at Murrayfield, which is a fantastic venue, with a great atmosphere – especially as the Scots are extremely passionate and up for the battle with the auld enemy. Unfortunately, on that occasion the rugby failed to live up to the atmosphere and expectation, finishing as a 15-15 bore draw.
Never settling for a mediocre outing, I wanted a little adventure with my rugby viewing. So, after a few bars on Haymarket, I challenged a friend to a race up a windy hill to the picturesque castle. Off we went, charging past unsuspecting pedestrians. As a rugby playing winger I had speed to my advantage, until we reached a crossroads, where a double decker bus was waiting at a red traffic light. It was here that thoughts of the race evaporated in a haze of rugby and beer swilling.
Spotting that the bus driver was looking quite cheerful, I stood in front of the bus and waved my coat in front of it like a strutting matador would do to a young bull. Thankfully, the driver was game and gave me the thumbs up, revving the engine and slowly edging forward as I stamped feet and beckoned it forward with a twist and a wave of my coat (cheered on by a small crowd that had formed by the side of the road). It must have been a very strange sight for the locals. I’m sure any tales the next morning of an African matador bullfighting with a bus would have drawn howls of derision as well as questions of how much alcohol the story teller had consumed.
Returning to the games and those scheduled for this weekend – Italy host England, France host Ireland and Wales host Scotland. England will be looking to progress with its young team. But Ireland vs. France should be the pick of the weekend.
Get yourself down to The Duck in Clapham, London. This a great venue for watching rugby or sport generally. With a number of big screens, a pool table, a large selection of stoned baked pizzas and a good selection of drinks, it’s the perfect place for a watching a 6 Nations match.
Just watch out for that African bullfighting matador!