Having succumbed to my cough/cold and kept my germ indoors for the week, by Friday I was to say the very least bored to tears!  Along with work I cancelled everything I had planned and hoped I’d feel human by Saturday morning.

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In a bid to cut down the time I spent outdoors I decided to drive to Westfield in Stratford so I could jump onto the Jubilee Line there.

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Now, I’m easily fascinated by technology so when I saw a Red Nose – use your contactless card to donate – I did of course do so!  I also use the card to travel – as I seem to have mislaid my Oyster Card – for 5 years the fact I have one of those has kept me highly pleased!

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I felt that I’d given myself plenty of time and had 90 minutes to get to Twickenham – but upon arriving at Waterloo I discovered that the ‘quick’ train was delayed and the train that takes an age was the only real viable option.

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Being wrapped up like a yeti and having to move quickly to get to the stadium on time – meant I looked and felt like a frizzy tramp by the time I arrived!  And disaster yet again!  I missed the Italian anthem!  2 weeks in a row I’ve missed at least one anthem!

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The residents of the roads leading to the ground make the most of a capacity crowd and a fairly huge choice of good quality food is on offer on the walk to the ground – including not so healthy freshly cooked donuts – I didn’t have any this time – no time!  But I have previously and they are heavenly!

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I did just about make it to my seat for God Save the Queen – at the risk of blasphemy I have to say we have the worst National Anthem of the lot!  Yes it gets belted out – but boy it’s dull in comparison to the rest!

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My seat was at the end of a row – and how I wish I’d counted how many times  I had to get up to let people go out!  Whether that was for beer, food or the loo, there were people on the go constantly.  It drives me crazy at Twickenham I’ve never experienced anything like it elsewhere! However that could change with the rest of my travels.

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And I am going to go into a moan here – it never ceases to amaze me that someone would pay £100 plus for a ticket TO WATCH RUGBY – then spend 20 minutes queuing for one thing or another.

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However I do have to say that the atmosphere was a good one, as fans from both countries mingled together to enjoy a game of rugby.

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So to the game – and no match report but maybe a little more than I would usually write.  The final score was England 47 Italy 17 – as big a gap as might be expected.  Yet the Italians put up  a good fight!

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Mr Italian Rugby – Sergio Parisse silenced the crowd for a moment as he went in to score the first points of the game – no mean feat with both Billy Vunipola and Dan Cole on his back!  I was stupidly pleased – he’s one of my favourite players of all time!

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England faced an early blow when Mike Brown clashed with Andrea Masi as he chased a ball.  Brown was down for a long time and moved from the pitch with great caution which was good to see considering how badly injured he appeared.  It was a relief to see him standing and in one piece later in the game.

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Brown’s early injury saw Billy Twelvetrees enter the fray – it meant a re-jigging with Anthony Watson going to full-back and Jonathan Joseph moving out to the wing.  Although at times it was hard to tell who was playing where – and was a contributory factor in the Italian tries later in the game.

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I’ve not been a fan of 36 in an England shirt – but I’d say on the whole he performed well.  I’m at risk of going into a full match report here – so I’ll give a very quick summary of the rest of the game.

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Italy play a good game of rugby, especially when they come to Twickenham – but England were too strong for them.  Man of the Match Jonathan Joseph scored 2 excellent tries as he backed himself with the line in front of him. Having been given the opportunity he is certainly grabbing it with both hands!

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England added a further 4 tries – Billy Vunipola scoring in the corner with a very strong effort.

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Ben Youngs took a very quick tap penalty right in front of the Italian posts and ran in a try, I think a fair few of the opposition weren’t watching!

Joseph in a different role

A very popular substitution was made when Danny Cipriani entered the fray – he scored a good try with his first touch of the game.  I have to say he was very dignified and didn’t over celebrate, which was good to see.

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Another player welcomed back into the England team Nick Easter also scored – what might be described as a forwards try.  He’s been in great for the last 2 years -it was good so see him emerge with the ball.

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Italy added another 2 tries themselves – both well scored by Luca Morisi – the frailties of the England defence will have been of concern with tougher opposition up next!

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Those tries were clapped well – I must confess I was shouting as he ran in on both occasions – it’s always good to see the Italians score – even against my country.

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I’m never one to rush away after any game and especially not from a big venue like Twickenham.  I certainly never, ever leave early.  It was good to see a few of the players giving autographs and having photos with kids especially – making life long memories for them!

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A slightly different blog than usual – I don’t have many facts – Beer was £5 plus a pound for a plastic cup – that £1 is refunded – and several kids found themselves in possession of lots of pounds at the end of the day!

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  • Cost of Ticket           £114.48
  • Cost of Beer              £   5.00
  • Ref Link                    £   8.00 or 2 for £15.00
  • Ladies toilets – are spread out at Twickenham – there are blocks of them under the North and South stand – but in other areas not enough.  I didn’t use them this time – but was told there wasn’t a way to dry your hands or soap.
  • Safety – I often feel a bit wary with so many people who’ve drunk a lot of beer – but tat wasn’t the case after this game – so good on the safety front
  • Nicest moment of the day – the response to Sergio Parisse’s try
  • Best moment of the game – hard to pick from Jonathan Joseph’s 2 tries – but I’m going for the first!

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I took my opportunity to get a photo with Jonathan Joseph at Event 15 – to follow next – sometimes I just have to be a fan!

I regretted my choice to drive to Stratford on the way home – and yet – it’s at least safe to your car at Westfield, so maybe not such a bad idea.  It was 606 time on the way back – very entertaining!  But, song of the journey on the way there was – Sleeping Stone by Duffy.

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