RNIB Cymru’s Gareth Davies is playing as part of the UK Visually Impaired rugby team at the World Cup in Japan. He’ll be keeping us updated about the team’s adventures over the next week.
Hello, Gareth here with the first instalment of my Rugby World Cup blog!
Our arrival in Japan on Saturday 12 October was more dramatic than expected, as we landed in Tokyo just in time for Typhoon Hagibis. We had just enough time to head to the supermarket for supplies before bunking down in our hotel for almost 36 hours, waiting for the storm to pass.
The winds reached up to 200mph and the typhoon was classified as a Category 5, which was a new experience for all of us. We did manage to squeeze in one training session during this time, although it was in a dark underground car park!
Thankfully, the wind and rain died down and we were able to explore Tokyo the next day. We finally managed to fit in a proper training session, which was much needed after almost two days inside our very small hotel rooms.
On Monday 14 October we met the Japanese VI side to play three matches. It seems that the whole nation has fully embraced the Rugby World Cup, and the Japanese team have been so kind off the field. Before the games, the Japanese Minister for Sport and the General Secretary for Japanese Rugby gave a speech about the need to fully support VI rugby across the world, which was so encouraging to hear.
We were pitched against the Japanese team at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in very humid conditions. The Japanese players gave it their all, but we came away winning all three matches! We were cheered on by Japanese fans and a couple of celebrity guests – ex-England player Simon Shaw and French rugby star Serge Betsen were watching, too. The scores were 26-0, 27-17 and 21-0, a fantastic result for the UK squad.
We will spend the rest of the day exploring the city, and tomorrow we will be heading to the Yokohama Air Base to play an airforce team. Stay tuned for updates!