Yesterday morning we woke up in London, made coffee and parked ourselves on our sofa to watch the first Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-final at 08:20 am (BST). It was two archrivals, England and Australia, going at each other’s throats for a place in the semi-final and after 80 minutes, England walked away with a massive 40 – 16 victory, sending the Aussies back home.

Then, at 11:00 am (BST), it was time for the second quarter-final where we really wanted to see Ireland come out and give the Kiwis a run for their money, but after only 40 minutes it was clear that New Zealand had booked their place in the semi-final against England next week. This was good news for us because we have tickets for both upcoming semi-finals and at least now we knew who we’ll see in the first game.

Immediately after the game, around 13:00, our transfer arrived and we made our way to Heathrow Airport. At 16:00 we were airborne and on our way to Beijing. This was a super exciting moment for us because not only were we on our way to join the World Cup action in Japan (via China) but it’s also our first trip to Asia and we looked forward to everything being so different to what we’re used to.

Eleven hours later, at 11:00 am local time (03:00 BST), we arrived at Beijing Capital Airport and was surprised to see how London’s air quality compares to Beijing, see below:

London – Heathrow
Beijing – Capital Airport approach

 

After checking in at our hotel, we quickly unpacked our bags, did some local travel research online and then threw on our Springbok jerseys. Unfortunately, we missed the third quarter-final between Wales and France but we met up with one of our friends, who now live and work in Beijing, at a local sports pub to watch South Africa play against Japan. Japan was undoubtedly the favourites for the game – as the host nation and for playing their first-ever knock-out game at a rugby world cup – but the Springboks were just too strong, walking away with a 26 – 3 win! The pub itself had a great atmosphere as many South Africans came out to support the green and gold. It’s also the first sports pub I’ve seen where you can watch the game, eat your burger, drink your beer and…get a tattoo (no jokes – you really can’t make this stuff up).

So now we know, we will see England vs New Zealand in semi-final 1 and South Africa vs Wales in semi-final 2 next week in Yokohama. We’re also glad the Boks won tonight because, up until now, there was a slight chance we may have brought our Springbok onesies with us on holiday for nothing.

It was a long day for us and we’re finally back at our hotel. We’ve been awake for 28 hours straight but it was totally worth it.

Well done Bokke, see you next week and good night from Beijing.

A&E