David Fleming, September 29, 2015

The William Webb Ellis Cup at Pool A game between Ireland and Argentina at the Adelaide Oval. The victory assures Ireland of thier place in the Quarter Finals. NO MOBILE PHONE USE. INTERNET SITES MAY ONLY USE ONE IMAGE EVERY FIVE MINUTES DURING THE MATCH.  22/11/03: England and Australia were battling out in the rugby world cup final, and the chance to lift the William Webb Ellis Cup. According to legend, schoolboy William Webb Ellis picked up a football and ran with it during a game at Rugby school in 1823, thereby inventing the game. ENGNNL00120130920122416
The William Webb Ellis Cup at Pool A game between Ireland and Argentina at the Adelaide Oval. The victory assures Ireland of thier place in the Quarter Finals. NO MOBILE PHONE USE. INTERNET SITES MAY ONLY USE ONE IMAGE EVERY FIVE MINUTES DURING THE MATCH. 22/11/03: England and Australia were battling out in the rugby world cup final, and the chance to lift the William Webb Ellis Cup. According to legend, schoolboy William Webb Ellis picked up a football and ran with it during a game at Rugby school in 1823, thereby inventing the game. ENGNNL00120130920122416
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As a regular fault-finding correspondent to these columns I can at last submit a joyful letter to be considered for publication, but I have to avoid errant politicians and apostate clergymen.

It is on the subject of Rugby Union which is a religion to some, though not me, more of an excuse to escape from the real world and all its miseries.

At a venue in Downham on September 21 I first watched my own team, Ireland, clinically and ruthlessly put Canada to the sword in accordance with the seedings. This result quietly met most people’s expectations, but few would have been prepared for arguably the biggest upset in the history of the game when Japan defeated South Africa 34-32.

It was a triumph for simplicity over sophistication!

This game went back to basics where Japan deployed tactics which had long been forgotten by the aristocrats of the Rugby Union movement. It was born again rugby and as a former player and official I became animated for the first time in years, likewise other people in the club, some of whom don’t follow the sport.

When the game, which was played in the Corinthian spirit by Japan was over, how memorable it was to watch the delirium and genuine delight on the faces of the Japanese players. It was a refreshing departure from the looks of self satisfaction and fixed smiles of modern cynical rugby players after winning a game.

In a dangerous and depressive world, a light shone over that stadium for eighty minutes, radiating itself globally, culminating with a rekindling of a sporting paradise lost, never to be forgotten by millions of people.

David Fleming

Paradise Court, Downham