03 January 2010

Toulon Toulon, ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ!!!

Yea TOULON! Wooo!

So, we decided to put on our tough game faces and head to an Albi V Toulon rugby game. Since this was a first for both of us, we looked up the Rugby Union Rules before setting off...but were only slightly better off for our self-education of the game.

We will share with you what we picked up along the way watching these athletes, with no guards or padding, pummel each other into the plush earth of the Toulon home stadium...

And out come the teams- Toulon in red, Albi in yellow- emerging from a mysterious cloud of smoke from the far end of the field. Talk about first impressions...we knew these guys were up to no good.

The ceremonial waving of the flags-
Let the games begin!

This dedicated fan was up there aaaall night long, waving his Toulon flag for the good ol' home team. Will it help? We'll have to see....

This move here is called the scrotum, oops, scrum... and um, it is one of the 3 restarts of the game(along with a free kick or a penalty kick). The ball is thrown under the interlocked heads of the players, and each team tries to kick it backwards toward their own side to start the play.

The reds and yellows line up for a Free Kick, each team holding a player up to try and snag the ball that is kicked from the sideline to restart the game.
And THIS guy has been up, out of his seat, for minutes on end hollering about who knows what.

Classic move directed at the poor, poor ref's by the distressed crowd. And the classic phrase that accompanies this move is... "Qu'est qui à?" "Qu'est qui à?" (What happened?) We must have heard this at least once every 30 seconds throughout the 80 minute game.

...Note the flattering red scarves.
We tried to find the vendors before the game so we too could look that good.

Lip-biting anxiety...what's going to happen...is Toulon going to pull through...?

A very nice place kick by Jonny Wilkinson, right through the goal posts. Jonny was far and away the most popular player on the field. Makin' it count with his stunning kicks, his name was announced over the intercom every single time....which was a lot.

And every once in a while as many of them as possible jump on top of each other to see just how high their man pile can get. From here the play is often over, but every once in a while the ball magically pops out from the depths and the play goes on.

Number One! Number One!!! Final score 41 to 13...Lookin' bad Albi, better luck next time....NOT

And the victory lap around the field at the end of the game.

The bright lights were dimmed in the whole stadium. A slow, sappy French song that reminded us of Titanic filled the air. The players walked along together, followed by a spotlight. They bent down periodically to pick up dirt balls that were kicked up during the game and hurled them at one another. We're all still kids at heart...