The anxiety is back. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it is the thought of leaving the temporary peace and security of Raglan behind. Alternatively, it could be returning to the big city (something that I never particularly enjoy wherever it is in the world) or a bad case of what my mates and I call PMT: Pre-Match Tension. I am not confident of us beating France; even a second-rate France. Les Bleus have already lost two but I reckon that makes them all the more dangerous. I reckon all of the Quarter Finals – with the exception of the All Blacks versus the Pumas – could go against the odds. I reckon Wales will beat the heavily fancied Irish, France will beat England and South Africa versus Australia is too close to call. My head says South Africa but my heart and desire for the Aussies to be eliminated makes me fear they might scrape through. Out of all the possible world cup final match ups it is Wales and New Zealand that I am most bullish about. I still think the Kiwis will win the world cup, but Wales could just shock everybody with their young team, which seems to have quality all over the pitch.
My last day in Raglan is spent playing football, followed by a Jacuzzi and a long sauna with the tunes on. Drunken/stoned conversations with two Canadians and a lad from Florida about hunting crocodiles and working in dairy farms (you obviously had to be there) follow before we hit the local club, Yot Club, which is as everything is here, a two-minute walk away from the backpackers. All the lads I am out with are trying to kick a conversion with the pretty 19-year-old German girl staying at the hostel. She looks and acts beyond her years, until that is, she begins to declare her love for Harry Potter books as she knocks back a glass of whisky coke. She has read some Harry Potter books five times, she proudly declares, and swears she won’t read anything else.
The drinking and tomfoolery goes on until it’s nearly dawn. I’m enjoying this but I know I’m going to regret it when I try to get up in a couple of hours.