Monday, September 10, 2007

Coupe du Monde en France

I was lucky enough to take a trip to the Rugby World Cup which started in France on Friday. I was on a tour which took in the Opening Ceremony, first game with France vs Argentina in Paris, then England vs USA in Lens the next evening. The trip was a lot of fun.

The links above give you photos from the two games, but I also took some shots in and around the ground to illustrate the ambience and lively atmosphere.

Outisde the ground, fans of all allegencies were mingling happily, just enjoying the colourful sideshows and rival fans. Not sure why this Frenchman looked embarrassed to have his photo taken - what did he expect, wearing an enormous yellow Chicken costume?!

Although the first game was heavily supported by the French, there were a good few fans from other nationalities in attendance - I saw Irish, Kiwis, Aussies and lots of English - plus a good number of Argentinians who were rewarded for their travel by their team beating France convincingly!

The greatest thing about rugby is how all the supporters get along with each other - none more so than these English and Argentine fans [below, showing some Entente Cordiale]. Most of the English I was with were supporting the Pumas agains the French - we'd obviously forgotten all about the Falklands debacle, but not forgiven the French for Waterloo...

There was a great party atmosphere inside the stadium, as seen below:

And right at the end of the opening ceremony, we were treated to a fly-past by crack French aerobatic display team, La Patrouille de France.

I would have liked a wide angle view with them flying over the top of the stadium, but I had the long lens fitted and there was about 2 seconds' notice of their arrival!

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