RWC USA v Samoa: Passion And Prayer

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Today I am back in Brighton, for the USA v Samoa game. I arrive late, as I am not feeling great. But this is the World Cup, and being sick has to wait.

I am expecting the atmosphere to be subdued. This is, after all, Sunday morning, and we are a long way from both of these countries.  I also expect there to be a general feeling that what we saw yesterday (at the Japan game) cannot be repeated today; a kind of disappointment in the game before it even kicks off. But that is the English way, not the American way, and what I actually encounter are eager groups of excited fans, both Samoan and American, happy and grateful to be here.

29178 people are seated in the stadium, and they are loud. I feel strangely emotional as the national anthems are sung. I am again impartial, but not really. I am, after all, representing Rugby Nation at this tournament, and today, therefore, I am American.

The game is not a thrilling one, but I heartily enjoy it, mainly because the crowd are so buoyant. I don’t know a lot about rugby, but what I do know is that the game is stifled by some questionable refereeing decisions, and this is frustrating. Still, some standout performances – mainly by A J McGinty, Chris Wyles and Thretton Palamo  – provide the crowd with what they want to see, minus the result they are looking for. Yes, the final result is disappointing, but I feel that the team put up a great fight, and when they walk the field at the end of the game, their fans give them the respect they deserve.

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Post match respect