Ok, I'm over my sulk about the Rugby World Cup finishing. Just about.
Over the last few days, here at #rugbyunited, we've been asking people to send in their photos using the hashtag #myRWCphoto and there's some really great photos, click here hashtagr.co/myrwcphoto to see them all!
What's strikes me about the photos is I thought MY rugby World Cup was fairly unique, loads of games, fans, sunshine, different places etc etc etc - but look through the photos, and EVERYONE was doing the same! After the initial ticket saga and everyone spending hours waiting to get through the web site, that all settled down and it genuinely seemed that anyone who wanted to go, got tickets, and I was seeing a fair amount of tickets being sold by fans, to fans at face value once the tournament got underway.
My and my good lady had tickets to all the games we wanted to go to, from CatD through to CatA which we splashed out on. We booked time off work during the week, and thankfully due a late surge in the summer weather, it all started rather well!
The games we went to where great, backed up by watching those on the TV we didn't go to. Of course, social media was awash with news, views and opinions and frankly, work, non-rugby friends and family all had to take a back seat as we became more more rugby mad than ever before!
I shan't mention the games we went to, and I can't mention everyone we met along the way - loads of old friends, loads of news friends, and loads of photos - on the #myRWCphoto hashtag of course!
A couple of mentions though;
Argentina have been my personal nation of the tournament. I loved the fans, I loved the team, I loved the way they played, and I think they deserved their semi final. Just shows how important brining them in to what was the tri-nations a few years ago. Six nations, you need a shake up in my opinion. Well done Argentina, you're certainly on my list to visit and see your county in return.
I work in Cardiff although live over the border in Gloucester, so I know it fairly well. But Cardiff on rugby match day is something else, and the rugby World Cup really took the city be storm. I personally prefer the Millennium Stadium over Twickenham for many reasons and the city really gears up on match day; if you've never visited Cardiff, make the effort, you won't be disappointed.
Congratulations to New Zealand, their pre tournament hype lived up to, and perhaps exceeded even their standards. Well done Australia who I think had a great tournament, Argentina, Scotland and Japan all probably leave happy. The biggest disappointment was probably England who completely didn't live up to pre tournament hype, although Wales, South Africa, Samoa, Georgia, Italy, France and Ireland will all be disappointed they didn't proceed further than they did.
Well done the host nation England, with the help of Wales, who have put on a great show and broken all records and expectations. Certainly the pubs, hotels and taxis that I talked to, perhaps after a few beers, have all said that they've seen good business from the fans the tournament attracted.
The last mention must go to the fans. Despite the obvious rugbyunited connection, I met many fans who aren't are social media in pubs, bars, grounds, train stations and queues for all of them! So many had travelled so far to watch their teams and had nothing but praise for everything about England 2015.
It's been an amazing time for me, Sarah and our rugby friends. We started in mid September in shirt sleeves and flip flops, and by the final, coats and boots - completely hungover from a few too many drinks, but a big rugby hangover.
In our circle of friends the debate has already started. Lions in New Zealand in 2017, or Japan in 2019; and just how feasible is it for us all to take a month off work?
I met many who had done that to come to England, surely, we can do it and go on one big away day (for a month?!)