The annual London Double Header has come and gone. For those not familiar, this is the first game of the rugby season where the four London premiership teams come together to play at Twickenham Stadium. This year, my husband’s team, London Irish, played Saracens. Saracens won.
That’s my match analysis.
For as much as I am a fan of rugby and enjoy watching a game, if you want rules and tactics, I’m not your woman. It just doesn’t ‘click’. Rugby is in the
Grandfather at a 1939 IRFU dinner
genes, my grandfather and great uncles played for Ireland and were presidents of the IRFU. From this generation my cousin played for London Irish and Ireland. From an early age, in our family the 5 Nations was an annual event holding all the excitement and anticipation of Christmas (well, maybe just for the adults!) It was a fabulous year if Ireland beat England.
These days I’ve one eye on the pitch, and one eye and hands on the 3 children. They are a welcome distraction, as the nerves of watching London Irish and Dec can be hard to bare!
On Saturday, I could feel the tension really start to heighten after disembarking the train at Twickenham. The mass of bodies is quite spectacular, filling the streets and funnelled by police on horseback towards the stadium. The feeling of immense pride and excitement is one that I will never forget. The girls are bursting to shout to everyone that their Daddy is playing. When we see the match programme with his grinning face on the front they are giddy with excitement. As am I to see him smiling, and not the usual Grumpy Dec grimace!
The, ahem, WAGS (that was actually printed on our ticket!), were lucky enough to have a box with seating outside. This allows the children to entertain themselves inside playing together, colouring in etc. while the mums try to watch the game. I say ‘try’ as with Conor in an ‘adventurous’ phase, he needs to be watched like a hawk. There was a hairy moment when he was gleefully drawing a purple Crayola moustache on Martin Johnson (who leaves a pile of signed England framed pictures stacked in the corner?!) Embarrassing crisis avoided with baby wipes applied to the glass.
After the game, Dec came pitch side for our annual Danaher photo (mammy is
a little camera shy so happily plays photographer). The stewards can get a bit twitchy about us handing children over the barrier, which is fair enough as they are just doing their job. But we have to be bold and just fire the children over before they can put a stop to our disobedience.
After his shower and change, we met Dec at the Powerday barbecue gathering in the car park (thanks Mr Crossan for the hospitality), then it was a charge down to Twickenham station for the Danaher Clan to catch the train before the hoards from the Wasps/ Harlequins game descended. An hour later, with 3 tired children we were home in Kingston. With the wee ones in bed, Dec and I had a bite to eat.
I was gobsmacked to witness the first ever vegetarian meal Dec has ever eaten. Don’t worry folks, it was the perfect balance of carbs and high value protein for recovery. A massive plate of egg fried rice with peppers and spring onions.
Game day nutrition:
Breakfast 7am : porridge, half bagel with peanut butter and jam
11am: small portion of pasta, smaller portion of bolognaise –
Pre kick off 2pm: sipping on carbohydrate drinks
Post game: slice of pizza, recovery drink (carbs and protein)
Meal at home 7.30pm: egg fried rice
Ingredients: 3 eggs, big cup of cooked basmati rice, 3 spring onions, one pepper.
Ideally, the pre game meal should be something fairly light and easily digested. I would have veered away from the fatty red meat in the bolognaise, as fat and protein take longer to digest. Low fibre carbs, some lean meat and plenty of fluid are the priority. However, each player has his routine and should know how they react to eating pre event. Some eat large amounts, while some eat very lightly. When nerves are high, the last thing anyone wants is the re appearance of Spag Bol on the pitch!