Friday, December 16
As we suggested on this blog back in October, Jonny Wilkinson has played his final match for the England rugby team.
Wilkinson announced his retirement from international rugby on December 14, bringing a long and successful career as one of his nation's most respected rugby players to a close.
'Jonny' famously secured England the 2003 Rugby World Cup with his last gasp drop-kick against Australia. Wilkinson played a total of 91 caps for England and had it not been for a series of injuries would have played dozens more internationals. He scored a total of 1,179 points during his England career before playing his last match in the 2011 Quarter Final between England and France.
Just like the England rugby team, I find myself hanging around with a load of dodgy birds in Queenstown.
A long night of drinking in Queenstown begins In Buffalo Bar with James, Ollie and the young English crew, watching the Kiwis thrash the Japanese with 13 tries. The Kiwis look fantastic but the locals fear they are not being tested and, when they do finally come up against a team that restricts their running rugby, they will come a cropper. But on the basis of the brilliant open rugby the New Zealanders have so far played, I don’t think anybody could possibly conclude that the Kiwis aren’t up to it.
Queenstown is a decent night out but it is very much a young Anglo-Saxon snowboarders and skiers resort that primarily attracts British gap-year students looking for a place to drink, get laid and find themselves. The setting though, with mountains all around and a gorgeous lake that wouldn’t be out of place in Switzerland, is certainly world class and is good enough justification for anybody to hang around here. The reason I mention the quality of the nights out is because, as you might have heard in the press, several rugby players have misbehaved during the few days I have been here. In fact, as well as getting drunk and trying to score some tries and touch downs with the local ladies, several international players have generally treated their time in Queenstown like they are on holiday, and not playing at the world cup finals. The Irish and some English players, I am told, even did a few stretches on the local bungee jump. All very well, until somebody gets injured or misses training…or gets caught in an uncompromising situation with a bar maid that is then splashed all over the Sun and the Daily Mail. Mike Tindall being case in point. This place is not exactly Kiev or Moscow. I have absolutely no idea why any married man or established international would risk his reputation or his world cup for the sake of a bunch of mediocre 22-year old British, Aussie and Irish girls that you would find on any night out in Bath or Leicester or Cork. Sometimes the risks simply aren’t nearly worth the rewards.
RWC Daily September 16