Pandas v. Rams

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The Guangzhou Rams came up from the South (near Hong Kong) to play us Chengdu Pandas. The score was 10-10 at the end of regular play, but the Rams won the game on a penalty kick. The Rams were happy to win one of their tightest games in the past few years.

So perhaps our former reputation is put to rest: that Pandas scoring a “try” was as rare as a Panda pregnancy.

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The Panda team is has a core of great players, mostly from the UK, Australia, NZ, South Africa, West Africa, and China, probably in that order. Just two or three Americans, including me (with blue cap), and I’m semi-peripheral because while impervious to injury (everything has been in place too long to be dislodged), I’m not as fast as I once was. I’m a substitute, but I see regular action because the game is tiring and there are many minor injuries. Lots of rotations.DSC_0676 DSC_0614 DSC_0642 DSC_0624 DSC_0587 DSC_0554 DSC_0671 DSC_0688

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I remain convinced that this is the best team game ever invented. It is raw. Chase your opponents, throw them to the ground, and steal their stuff. Despite the underlying and pervasive brutality, rugby is also a fine art: the line-out, the scrum, the rucks – all require a certain finesse.

The game played in Heaven…

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