Pub Lunches and Rugby

Last Monday was my birthday and, as is our tradition, Mum took me to lunch at a local pub. Except during the last year we’ve moved cities, so it was a new pub. The Prince Albert in Cambridge to be exact. Nice pub, lots of flags and some not from rugby playing nations so I don’t think it has anything to do with THAT cup, unless Croatia and Turkey have suddenly become rugby playing nations affiliated to the IRB…but I digress (I do that).

So what to have? First of all a light lager Shandy. We do this every year and every year we are astonished at how big the glasses are. If I had a towel I could swim in it. I don’t drink much at all, I would if I could find something I like the taste of, and every year as I take that first sip of cool, slightly bitter, creamy combination of beer and lemonade, I say to myself, “You should drink more Shandy.” And the next day I’ve forgotten all about it. But this one was delicious, so if you ever find yourself in Cambridge (New Zealand – not be confusing), pop into the The Prince Albert on Victoria Street and have yourself a light lager Shandy.

The menu was good, several things caught my eye, but this is a special lunch and calls for a special choice. So I went for the…spare ribs in their special secret BBQ sauce. Mum had a steak sandwich which was a braver choice than the chicken salad. After a while (which we spent sneakily reading the newspaper so we didn’t have to buy one) out came the largest plate I have ever seen. I know ribs are 80%  bone so to give you a decent serving of meat, they have to give you a lot of ribs. But the waitress could barely carry this and EVERYONE in the room turned and looked at it. The woolly mammoth ribs were a dark red-brown, smothered in sauce and lying on a bed of small roasted potatoes. It was divine! Finger licking and sticking in the finger bowl, sauce everywhere, divine. And I finished about a third of it, so they gave us both ‘doggy bags’ and we took the rest home. I had some ribs for dinner, lunch the next day and dinner the next night. Now THAT is what I call a birthday lunch result.

 Whilst (sort of) on the subject of rugby The Cup kicks off tomorrow night with New Zealand playing Tonga. The other day Lucas told me he wanted to support another team when the All Blacks weren’t playing and he liked the sound of ‘Tonga’, I told him there was a flaw in his logic. I have to say I feel for some of the players who will be under intense pressure to perform tomorrow night. I suspect that Israel Dagg will play a blinder at Fullback and we will see that this kid has the potential to be one of the game’s greatest. There will be tough choices to come at fullback as the tournament reaches what the commentators call ‘the business end.’…. But as for Sonny Bill Williams, magnificent athlete and incredibly marketable and all that, but is he the best person to have in that position? The incumbent is playing the rugby of his life and is sometimes the best player on the field, so let’s move him and make room for someone who has had trouble making the starting 22?? I know it’s Tonga and Ma Nonu will have his chance, but there is an argument for ‘best 15 every time’. This is the World Cup guys and the experimentation should be over. I really hope SBW plays the game of his life and silences everyone (including me) and if he does, I shall happily eat a bucket load of humble pie, but my instincts say it will not be so.

Roll on THE CUP, I am ready and looking forward to it. Catch ya soon. 




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