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Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

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Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 00:54

Given there's not much to really talk about at the moment as the virus has postponed a lot of things I thought it would be nice to talk about how people discovered rugby, what their earliest memories are, what big events they witnessed etc. Were you a child or teenager when you discovered it? Were you introduced through school or a parent or a friend? Did you play when you were young, win any championships, do some coaching etc? The idea came from the RWC 2019 thread thanks to Hernan. So share your stories about how you discovered the game!

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby victorsra » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 01:22

I only started playing in the year I entered the university, 2006. At that time rugby was smaller in Brazil, but I knew it for long time.

It is a bit odd story but I discovered rugby when I was a kid (around 10 yo) with a book and I got realy interested. But I did not know anybody that played...

In 1999 I visited Australia and NZ with my family and saw rugby on TV there in the hotel, bought a ball and the RWC video game.

In 2003 ESPN broadcasted the RWC for the first time to Brazil and I really became a fan. I tried to find a club to play, but information on internet was very poor. I knew the University of São Paulo had rugby teams and that was basicaly the first thing I did when I entered there... I went straight to the field in my first day.
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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 02:53

My introduction was a New South Wales v Queensland match in 1994. I was about 11 at the time. I saw an advertisement on TV for a game called 'Rugby Union', having grown up with and played Rugby League my whole life I had no idea this other rugby game existed. When I asked my dad about it he explained to me the difference. I was amazed at what he said - "There are two extra players? There are 8 guys in a scrum? They have unlimited tackles?" I couldn't believe this other rugby game existed. I think I maybe watched a few minutes of the game but little more. Then I was shocked in 1995 to read in the newspaper there was a Rugby World Cup that had teams all over the world. "They play this in Japan and Canada and Italy?". I distinctly remember the newspaper saying Japan were 1000/1 odds to win the cup, lol. I distinctly remember seeing the NZ v Japan score in the newspaper 145-17 not being able to comprehend the scoreline. I had no idea such a score was possible. I saw some highlights from the world cup but little more.

It wasn't until 1996 when I actually watched my first ever game. Australia v Canada in Brisbane. I'd seen the Australian Rugby League team play New Zealand, England, France and PNG many times, so I was eager to see another country play us in a similar code. Wallabies won by about 70 points, lol. It was really the international matches that lured me over from League, because as much as I had enjoyed the domestic competition at the time, there was little variety in who Australia played. Plus this was at the height of the Super League war. 1999 World Cup was really my first exposure to the rest of the rugby world.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby theDarky » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 05:05

I discovered rugby in the spring '91.

In my middle school, a new woman teacher arrived.

She replaced our normal man sport teacher who was obsessed with team handball (many teachers practice it in France which can explain our success in this sport btw)

She proposed to play rugby 7 at a time where rugby was amateur, only had one world cup to both boys and girls.

I enjoyed it and started to play for the local club even if I was rubbished.

At the same time, the second world cup took place and I enjoyed it especially the great match between Ireland and Australia at Lansdowne Road.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoX4zkNUGsM

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby antlat » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 07:45

I am from Melbourne, Australia so Aussie Rules is my first love and am a dedicated member for my beloved Carlton Blues.

On the 25th May, i woke up in the early hours suffering from a horrible bout of gastro. As I couldn't fall back asleep I decided to turn on my TV and started flicking channels and came across the opening ceremony of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Never heard of rugby before and enjoyed the ceremony so decided to watch South Africa vs Australia match and fell in love with rugby.

Since then have been to most Melbourne Rebels games, and attended the 2011 and 2015 World Cups in New Zealand and Britain.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Edgar » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 07:54

I played rugby in my first year at school but I didn't take to it at all, preferring the round ball game, at which I excelled in childhood. It was the dramatic 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand which really piqued my interest in the national sport, and the following year I attended my first test - vs Australia at Athletic Park. A young Campese left the All Blacks clutching at thin air that afternoon but we didn't mind too much because NZ had won the first test and would likely take out the third, as had been the case against SA. Later that same year NZ played at their first FIFA World Cup with local hero Wynton Rufer, still in his teens, top-scoring in qualifying. So I remained torn between the two codes as a kid but eventually played my first season of rugby at Wests in 1986, without much success. The following year I was in Sydney and played league in the Cronulla-Sutherland Shire, doing much better, but upon returning to New Zealand I fell in with my old mates at Wests again. They had been relegated to third division during my absence and really were an awful side.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Thomas » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 08:06

My first exposure was in the 70's when I was 5 or 6 years old and was taken to Easts Rugby which at the time was around from where we lived, I was fascinated by the Scrum which I didn't see in League done properly or not at all. I always found the set piece exciting to watch and kept my interest in the sport even though League at the time was the dominant sport in terms of cash, resources and exposure. I remained loyal to Easts and played the occasional game never quite making the full move.

However I totally switched over after watching and seeing the Wallabies against the Lions Tour of 1989 (For me the 87 World Cup was a blip it was never promoted properly in OZ). That changed my outlook and never looked back, I was fascinated by the international matches and the exposure to other nations that played the sport, and anywhere you went in the world clubs would welcome you.

I did my university qualifications because of Rugby and after meeting Medical staff at the time and were willing to talk to you, that for me influenced my future choices and what sport I would work with.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby amz » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 08:18

My earliest contact with rugby was, if I remember well, in 1984 or around that year (I was 7 yrs old). The TV broadcasts were very limited in Romania back then, 2 hours/day but the national TV had two channels Saturday and sometimes they broadcasted big events. I was into football because my home town was the home of the greatest Romania footballer at that time (Nicolae Dobrin, Hagi was still very young) so I was always in front of TV at any brodcast.

One day my grandpa called to watch with him a game of rugby, it was Le Crunch in 6 N. He explained me the rules, he told me that rugby players are different and they have their own job, I remember the commentator mentioning players' jobs (policeman, medic). However, I started to follow the sport only at 1991 RWC.

My home town was a football one, the rugby team was a small one so I didn't had the occasion to play rugby, I played football. 1995 RWC was the Cup which made me a rugby fan, was fully brodcasted in Romania and I watched every game I could.

I only started playing in my early 30s in Bucharest.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 09:16

Great stories! I forgot to mention I played briefly in high school but unfortunately I suffered a knee injury in training prior to the start of the season. My knee was sadly never the same after that because I had to get surgery and so my sporting career was over at age 16. I was mostly likely to be the reserve scrum half because it was similar position to hooker in rugby league which is what a played a few years earlier.
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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby germanbullsfan » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 09:17

Interessted in the game since 78 , the pen pal of my sister send me a book about the game and the laws from england mid 1980 , consequently i joined our local rugbyclub soon after and played from 1989 till 1992 at highest level in Germany .

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 09:19

What was the television coverage like back then for people outside of the T1 nations?

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Thomas » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 11:36

When I moved to Mexico there was basically no coverage in the late 70’s early 80’s I was around 10 or 11 but there was a Sunday segment about World sports (similar vein like Wide World of Sports Sunday in Australia) and had highlights of sports like Rugby league and VFL (it was known in Mexico as El Football Australiano). To be honest I don’t remember Union being shown but then the program was only a few minutes.

When Cable TV came to Mexico in terms of subscriptions and affordability (early 80’s) my family got it because of the coverage of American sports. Anyway, the cable also allowed me to watch Rugby League matches. It was also the first time I was able to see the 5 nations championship and I remember vividly a match at the old Cardiff Park arms and the crowds it was amazing to see.
Around 82 or 83 they telecast on Cable an international tour to Europe from the SH I cannot remember if it was NZ or Australia but it was shown live.

Aside from that exposure to international Rugby, the sports were not in the consciousness of
Mexicans unless they knew someone who came from a T1 Country. It was scant at best and people who had cable tv at the time they would think both codes were the same.

If someone had asked me back in the early 80’s before I went back to OZ if Rugby union would be the dominant sport back then, I would have laughed the exposure at the time was League internationally and on cable. The fact the League missed the boat speak volumes of the administrators at the time.

While living in Mexico I was not aware there were clubs or any form of Rugby. Schools at the time only allowed American Football. There was no school program like there is now.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Chester-Donnelly » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 14:16

I grew up in a large town near Liverpool. In primary school I don't think I knew what rugby was. Everyone was either a Liverpool or Everton fan. Soccer was the only team sport people played. In secondary school (from age 11) we started playing rugby in games at school. I enjoyed it but no one I knew played rugby out of school. I played in a soccer team with most of the boys in my class. The school did have a rugby team, but I wasn't part of that. Aged 16 I went to boarding school, where rugby was regarded more highly than soccer. I really enjoyed it. I was the most improved player and was awarded colours. After school I did a gap year in Cape Town. I supported Western Province and Western Stormers and went to every home game, at Newlands. After that I played at university in England. After university I really lost my way in life. I went travelling and got into debt. I didn't have any goals, focus or even pride. I joined a rugby club and that really helped me. For a few years rugby really was my life. I didn't have the talent to be professional but being fit and strong and good at something built up my confidence. I played rugby until I was 33. My last season, I was suddenly slower and weaker. That same season I got made redundant from work. I had a wife and 2 young children to support so I decided to give up rugby and focus on work and family, whilst studying to be an accountant. Once I was qualified I did try going back to rugby but my legs were too old, I couldn't do it. I thought rugby was over for me. But my youngest daughter, who is seven, kept asking me to take her to the rugby club. Eventually I agreed to take her. She loves it and I love watching her. I will probably now start doing some coaching at her club.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby iul » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 14:17

My first memories of watching sport was from the 1994 footbal WC. I was 7. My family and I went camping at the seaside and one of the guys in the campground had a small TV, must have been about 15x15 cm, which had an antenna and was powered by a car battery. There were about 40 people watching that little thing but we managed to get seats in the front and I enjoyed the experience. I can't remember what match it was. Then I was really into football for more than a decade. In my late teens a friend of mine whose dad was a rugby coach at the uni and the local club started telling me about rugby. I started reading about it and keeping up with news about it on rugby.ro, which afaik that was pretty much the only source for rugby news. I first started watching during the 2007 RWC. I never played the game though. I guess I could have tried to play with the local amateur team that was playing in the Hungarian championship for a while, but participating in organized sports was never really my thing. I prefer to go cycling.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby m.map » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 14:18

Half seventies, RaiTv (national broadcaster, the only in Italy in those years) broadcasted Five Nations matches commented by Paolo Rosi, former player and formidable storyteller.
I was around 15yo, and hearing about Bob Deans, Obolensky and other rugby legends I was fascinated.
So, I started to play rugby, aged 18, but my career was just few months long. Then, I restarted playing after 35 years, in 'oldies' category
Now I'm 64, still on the pitch… 8-)

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Armchair Fan » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 14:39

1999, family gathering aged 7. I leave the living room to watch the TV and zapping I find Scotland v Spain from RWC on Spanish public second channel. Commentator kept telling how brave we were risking being nilled while trying to score our first try. We were nilled anyway but it was fascinating.


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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 15:25

It was unlucky that Spain never crossed the try line the whole tournament. I was up all night watching matches during the 99 World Cup. I didn’t know anyone else who was that dedicated. I didn’t even know Namibia existed as a country before the tournament, lol. :lol:

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby victorsra » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 16:11

thatrugbyguy wrote:What was the television coverage like back then for people outside of the T1 nations?


In Brazil, the RWC:

1999 - first time the final was shown, by Sportv. But pay-TV was very small and I believe it wasn't live. Basically there wasn't impact, just a curiosity

2003 - first time ESPN broadcasted the RWC. Some matches shown live or VT (not all matches, but many, including the whole knock-out stage). Pay-TV was a bit bigger and that made the difference, creating a first "boom" of new clubs

2007 - many matches (not all) shown again by ESPN. It produced another "boom" of new clubs (the biggest one, because the time zone was good).

2011 - first time all matches were broadasted by ESPN, despite the bad time zone. After 2011, rugby entered a new phase, with Olympic money and etc. But the impact of the RWC broadcast was also very important.


Also, ESPN started to show the Heineken Cup in 2005, the Six Nations and the Tri Nations in 2006.
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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Silver Fox » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 16:16

Being Dutch my first memories of following and watching a major event are from the Soccer World Cup 1974.
I still remember being impressed by the fanaticism of my uncles shouting at the television set.
I, nor my friends for that matter, never joined a soccer club though. We were too busy going out in the fields and build huts and stuff like that.

When those areas outside our town had to make way for roads and businesses we had to find something else to do (together). Some of our group joined a rugby club nearby.
At that moment me and a friend were thinking of joining a soccer club. But then I realised that he would probably end up playing for their second or first team and I for their fifth.
So the only thing to end up playing together in one team was also joining the rugby club. Only 21 members in the entire club so a place in the team was more or less garanteed.
That was in 1983. Rugby and it's comraderie really sucked me in.
I am not sure if our pub already had satellite. I think however that the only rugby shown on television were highlights of the Five Nations in three minute clips on Dutch television.
I even think that most of the international rugby we saw back then were taped Five Nation matches we watched after our training sessions.
In 1987, putting our club magazine together, we learnt of the World Cup from articles in copies of 'Rugby World & Posts', mostly with a delay of 2 to 4 weeks.
In 1991 however I visited my first rugby international, the New Zealand - Canada World Cup Quarter Final in Lille.
Since then I tried to visit every RWC but in 2000 kids came and I had to skip the 2 RWC's down under.
Hey AF, I was at the Scotland - Spain match in Edinburgh in 1999. :D From the report I kept from that trip I thought the Spanish did well that day.

Meanwhile our club folded and in 2005 we (me and nine others) moved on to become player-coach with a newly founded club just across the border in Belgium.
I had to give that up 3 years ago because I could not combine it with work at that time. But I am thinking of picking things up again.
I still play my veteran rugby, approx. 3 matches a year. But for that I go to Aachen, just across the border in Germany.
With all the matches I visited (I even witnissed the 110-0 trouncing of the Dutch by the English) I am however yet to see Netherlands play in Amsterdam.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby jonny24 » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 17:35

I first heard about rugby from a friend of mine in grade 9. I had gone to early morning soccer tryouts, wasn't nearly fit enough, threw up and left. So i while I waiting around for class to start my friend asked what I was doing there, and tried to get me to come to rugby with him. Didn't know what it was so I said no.

It was the next year, in grade 10, waiting for the bus to leave the girls team was practicing lineouts. I recognized the sister of a friend also on the bus so asked him - I thought it was maybe cheerleader practice! He explained it was rugby, his brother played on the boys team, and if I wanted to try they could give me a ride. So I went, we had barely enough players so it didn't matter that I was clumsy and slow, and I've been making up the numbers ever since!
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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby vino_93 » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 18:53

My family wasn't a team sport fan ... so child, I was watching mostly motorsport (F1, WRC, Le Mans) & cycling. I don't know since ... from what I know, since I was put in front of a TV :D For motorsports, my memories are quite blurred. I do remember the amazing Toyota GT-One, Schumacher injured in 1999, how irritated I was in 1998 watching Australian GP, or me doing WRC & F1 ranking on my small paper sheet. For cycling I have less memories from this time. My first clear one was the Tour de France 2003 and its amazing race. But I know I was watching from a long time before. Alreayd hate Armstrong and praise for Vinokourov ( :) ) & Ullrich !

Then at school, I had a friend which played rugby. His father was the president of local club, and his brother a belgian international. He introduced me to the sport. Anyway, I don't think I watched games before the RWC 2003. Probably only news on TV, same as football... even if I watched a few minutes of games of Fifa WC 2002 on TV the morning before going to school with my friends. Don't remember who it was. I think there was Germany.
So for rugby, I remember news before the RWC 2003, talking about France facing Fiji in Australia. Everyone was quite excited. I followed only through TV news. The first game I watched was Australia vs Romania. I grew up and turn up the TV, watching this. I remember how unconfident I was about my parents reaction seeing me watching this (my mother really hate football and it was forbiden to watch a game at home :lol: ). But rugby was well appreciated :D So from this game I start watching the competition. France 2 had a good show the morning, showing all the results, with best tries and so on. Thanks to this and hollidays I discover all the teams. It was quite fascinating for a geography enthousiast like me to see countries like Fiji, Samoa, Tonga being involved. Fiji were definitely my favorites ! I was a bit disappointed with England winning the tournament ... well I didn't know a lof of thing about rugby, but I knew who were our ennemies :D But in fact I was really fan of this team. So many great players (Robinson, Wilkinson, Cohen, ...).
After RWC I became crazy about rugby. I think I've not missed a 6 Nations game from there. I remember too watching Champions Cup on TV while doing Christmas tree.
I bought a rugby video game, the great Jonah Lomu rugby :D . It learned me a lot about international rugby, or teams like Barbarians.

Quite surprisingly I didn't start playing at club. Don't know why ... I was doing fencing that time and I enjoyed it, so probably I didn't want to change. I started a few years later, but unfortunately couldn't play it a long time due to medical problems ... so now I'm a bit sad to not have switch earlier.

And I think the first game I attended as spectators was South Africa - Samoa during RWC 2007. What a great game it was. Samoans were crazy, with all the stadium support. At the end the score was quite harsh for them, but they fight well :D

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby victorsra » Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 19:58

victorsra wrote:I only started playing in the year I entered the university, 2006. At that time rugby was smaller in Brazil, but I knew it for long time.

It is a bit odd story but I discovered rugby when I was a kid (around 10 yo) with a book and I got realy interested. But I did not know anybody that played...

In 1999 I visited Australia and NZ with my family and saw rugby on TV there in the hotel, bought a ball and the RWC video game.

In 2003 ESPN broadcasted the RWC for the first time to Brazil and I really became a fan. I tried to find a club to play, but information on internet was very poor. I knew the University of São Paulo had rugby teams and that was basicaly the first thing I did when I entered there... I went straight to the field in my first day.


In my first week training, my team did not had coach. And I was 53kg :lol: so the other guys tought me how to do the basic stuff and it was very enjoyable. When the new coach arrived, he talked to the younger/skinnier players and told us this: "I doubt any of you will last here for more than a month". That pissed me off a LOT and I decided to prove him wrong and kept going to every single training. In our first match, I got the shirt 11. Pretty cool, but we were demolished by 113-07. Most guys left, the coach left and me and a couple of younger players decided to rebuild the team.

I played from 2006 to 2010, was the team's director between 2007 and 2009 and created my website in 2009. Brazilian rugby was in the dark in terms of online information. Few news, non updated fixtures, results, tables... I joined forces with a friend from another team and we started Portal do Rugby.

I stopped playing in 2010 when I injured badly my knee and just after that my dad got cancer. Also I graduated. So I stopped playing and focused on family, work and website. But I still play once a year our "end of the year" fun match. Most special day of the year always.
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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby suofficer » Mon, 16 Mar 2020, 10:25

Started playing in Autumn 1993 at school in England when I moved from Portugal to UK

First International game ( that I watched) was England v Western Samoa 1995.

First rugby tour was to Dublin in 1999, played in a fairly successful Daily Mail Cup side same year. Played my first representative rugby (County Level)

Moved onto Uni rugby where I played and started writing match reports and getting involved with the admin of a club for the first time

Left Uni, helped with my old boys club, never played but helped run it over 12 years to the present where I now chair it. Got involved with managing senior county side as well. Was lucky enough that RFU run very good courses on management and admin of clubs, used those to my advantage

Ultimate goal is to return to Portugal and get involved with national set up.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby 4N » Tue, 17 Mar 2020, 03:31

Discovered it in 1999 a few months before the RWC. Australia vs England when they wore the vintage jerseys was the first game I watched. Started playing the following year.

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Re: Your Introduction to Rugby and Earliest Memories

Postby Fefe » Tue, 17 Mar 2020, 11:25

I used to play a few online sport manager games (like Hattrick) and I stumbled upon a rugby manager game in 2009 or 2010, when I was 15/16. I signed up and I started watching the sport and learning the rules. It helped a lot that the Romanian community had a forum where I got to know other rugby fans or even players.

I also knew a bit of programming and because I believed that I can do a better game than the games that were back then (rugbymania and blackoutrugby) I started working on my own. People liked it, had about 400 users at some point but I abandoned the project in my last year of high school because I had a lot of exams.
Now I am a web developer. In my free time I work on a new version of the game and if I manage to do something I am pleased with and that I can maintain and develop further I will make it public.

I don't remember which was the first game I watched but one of my early memories is waking up in the middle of the night to watch Scotland - Romania (RWC 2011) and what a game that was for us. We were leading 10 minutes before the end of the game a tier 1 nation but we lost. In the end, the result didn't matter: seeing the dedication and the Oaks desire to win made me proud.
The first game I got to see live was a test match between Romania and Tonga (highlights here). Another intense game, with a fully packed Arcul de Triumf Stadium, that ended 20-25 for Tonga.

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