Tag: rugby

Munich by Robert Harris

Sunday, 12 March, 2017 0 Comments

Munich’s Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer festival, will run from 16 September to 3 October this year and some six million visitors are expected to take part in the annual swilling. It’s a global event and the organizers are constantly seeking ways to broaden the appeal. Their latest innovation is the Oktoberfest 7s, an international rugby tournament. Sevens is a variant of rugby union in which teams of seven players play seven-minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40-minute halves. The Oktoberfest 7s hopes to emulate the success of the Hong Kong Sevens tournament, which has evangelized the game in Asia and now features teams from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Munich While all the scrimmaging and drinking are taking place in the Bavarian capital, Robert Harris will debut his new novel, titled simply Munich. According to the blurb, “Munich is a spy thriller about treason and conscience, loyalty and betrayal, filled with real-life characters and actual events.”

The book is set over four days during the infamous Munich Conference of September 1938, which ended with the signing of an agreement by the major powers of Europe that permitted Nazi Germany’s annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia. Anticipating this act of appeasement, Winston Churchill remarked, “England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame, and will get war.” And that’s exactly what happened.

Between beer and betrayal, Munich shoulders an enormous weight of culture and history with impressive dignity. The past and the present intersect on most streets and one is commemorated as the other is celebrated. Robert Harris has chosen his subject and his timing well.


With Wales and God in France

Saturday, 9 July, 2016 0 Comments

No, not for Euro 2016. The date was 29 September 2007 and the game was Wales vs Fiji in the Rugby World Cup. The venue was Stade de la Beaujoire, which is the home of the FC Nantes football club. Huw Griffiths provided the tickets, the sun shone and the Fijians won in style. Afterwards, we ate cuisses de grenouille (frog’s legs) and washed them down with lashings of the local Muscadet. Despite the volume consumed, a green apple bottling stood out with its bouquet and name: Michel Delhommeau Symbiose. Later, we found out that it’s made by Michel and Nathalie Delhommeau, a husband-and-wife team based in Monnières. The German maxim, “leben wie Gott in Frankreich” (to live like a god in France), summed up our weekend with Wales in Nantes.

2007 Rugby World Cup Nantes


Gareth Edwards in the mall

Sunday, 15 September, 2013 0 Comments

In 2003, a poll of international rugby players conducted by Rugby World magazine declared Gareth Edwards the greatest player of all time. A year earlier, a life-size bronze statue of the outstanding Welsh scrum-half by the New Zealand sculptor Bonar Dunlop was unveiled in St Davids shopping mall in Cardiff. “He was a supreme athlete […]

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