JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Thoughts on a plane, heart in Brisbane

Date

John Eales

4.10pm Saturday, July 21: QF1 departs for London.

It's always hard when passions collide. I love my food and wine but I also enjoy being fit. I love my kids but also enjoy my own company, or at least 10 minutes peace every now and then. And as I sit on a plane bound for London I am missing out on the dramatic conclusion to the 2012 Super 15 rugby championship.

I know it seems rather ungrateful to lament missing the final acts of a provincial rugby competition for the world's greatest sporting event but, even for us fanatics, such sacrifice will soon be redundant. In four years' time in Rio de Janeiro, rugby will be back at the Olympics, in the abbreviated, frenetic form of sevens.

It won't have been a brief hiatus for rugby – 92 years to be precise. Makes colour TV seem like the new, new thing and MySpace futuristic.

Certainly it's been long enough for most of us to forget that the US is the reigning gold medallist. You think the Waratahs are in a bad patch? Well it's been more than a century since Australia's anthem was sung for rugby at the 1908 London Games.

7.40pm: Somewhere over the Northern Territory.

Kick-off. Reds on step one of three to retain their title, the Sharks striving for their first.

Rugby will bring much to the Olympics but the Olympics will bring so much more to rugby.

One reason rugby is back in the Olympics is its universality; it is nigh on a religion in New Zealand (why are so many great rugby players New Zealanders? Why are so many great sprinters Jamaican?) and Wales; likewise in places such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga – which will be vying to win their country's first-ever gold medal.

But it is also important for some fast-emerging aspirants such as Kenya and the Netherlands (yes that's right, the Dutch play rugby).

Another reason is equality. women's sevens, – for which Australia is reigning world champion – is being targeted as a medal opportunity by some surprising countries. One is again the Netherlands, which came third in a recent major international meet.

They are far from a traditional rugby power but have scoured their country for likely women, physically and athletically predisposed for rugby, and have contracted them in pursuit of gold. The US men's side has done similarly.

8.30pm: Over the Timor Sea.

Half-time at Suncorp Stadium. When the Reds lead at half-time they rarely lose. If they are behind it could be a lottery. What's the score?

The Olympics are special and are not solely about winning. In our team of perhaps 500 athletes all are peers, none more important than another, all are Olympians. An eclectic collection of athletes, of physical and psychological extremes – many of whom, while household names and legends at home, are unknown in other countries, perhaps all others.

But an Olympic gold is still the most universally recognised honour in sport and will give sevens stars the chance to stand at least beside rugby World Cup winners.

Australia currently has no specialist sevens legend such as Wasale Serevi or Eric Rush – good XVs players but giants of sevens. A gold medal may change all that.

It may not ultimately define your life but it can certainly pencil an outline. An outline for you and a platform for your sport.

9.20pm: East of East Timor.

Full-time sounds, who won?

Three hours to destination, if I sleep it won't seem so long. If I watch any of the fairly average movies it will seem forever. Patience is a virtue, but perhaps in these days of instant media and news gratification it is an absent virtue.

12.10am: Land in Singapore.

Phone on, global roaming on, searching for a network. Ten texts would be a good sign, winners celebrate en masse and virally. One text would not be, losers prefer solitude. "How'r yr Reds looking now!" says one.

Alas, the Reds lose 30-17.

John Eales will be an athlete liaison officer for the Australian Olympic Team.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers