1 Oct 2015

Welsh win whips Cardiff into a frenzy

11:58 am on 1 October 2015

OPINION: A funny exchange occurred this morning as I was sitting in a Cardiff cafe, trying to find the words to describe the vibe around the Rugby World Cup in the Welsh capital.

Wales fans react as they watch the England vs Wales game.

Wales fans react as they watch the England vs Wales game. Photo: AFP

I recognised Welsh utility back Rhys Priestland, who had plenty of impact off the bench in his side's win over England at Twickenham, as he wandered past the window dressed in street clothes.

This sparked a frenzy in the cafe as the middle-aged man at the table next to me in a Wales rugby jersey grabbed his young son, also in Wales supporter's garb, and hurriedly headed for the exit before bolting down the street in pursuit yelling "Rhys, Rhys!".

All this while his wife (sporting an early 2000s Wallabies jersey) looked on in horror.

A few minutes later the man returned beaming from ear to ear.

"Only 30 more to go," he exclaimed as he proudly showed his freshly snapped selfie to anyone who would listen.

This dramatic reaction to seeing a bench player, who's barely a household name, illustrates the rugby-mad nature of the city.

Rhys Priestland

Rhys Priestland sparked a frenzy when he walked past the window of a local cafe. Photo: AFP

It's a refreshing change after spending the first two weeks of the tournament in London, a city of 8.5 million people, where events like this get lost in the hustle and bustle.

The atmosphere was evident as soon as I stepped off the train on Sunday morning even with most of the city sleeping off hangovers following the celebrations that kept the All Blacks up all night in their central city hotel.

It feels like every second person I've seen is sporting some piece of Wales rugby attire that presumably hasn't been taken off since the match at Twickenham and may not be until well after Thursday night's match against Fiji.

It's not often the All Blacks have to share the limelight or, heaven forbid, play second fiddle to another side when they're on tour, but this week there's no doubting who the main attraction is.

Hallam Amos and Dominic Day celebrate a Wales try RWC2015

Hallam Amos and Dominic Day celebrate a Wales try RWC2015 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Alex Coogan-Reeves is a seasoned sports journalist, rugby nut and globe trotter. He will be following all the action around the UK and giving those of us who are stuck here an insight into what 's going on over there.

Between The Posts will run throughout the World Cup on radionz.co.nz

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