02/10 Byron Bay

Byron Bay was where most folk did sup
And a few guys, when surfing, stood up
Except Ross who could not
But who cared not a jot
'Cause Ireland look good for the World Cup!

Today has been a superb day of R&R: about half of the team took a superb road trip up to Byron Bay to enjoy some of Australia’s beautiful coastal scenery, with the remainder enjoying themselves in Brisbane; and most importantly of all, Wales thrashed Fiji 66 to nil and Ireland bested Italy, qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup, much to the delight of the Celts.

Departing shortly after 08:00 this morning – and pausing only briefly at the coffee shop just up the road next to the “bronzed Brazilian” beauty parlour to fulfil Webbie’s carvings for caffeine – a short convoy of buses headed South down the M1 to visit Byron Bay, a small tourist town renowned for excellent surfing and beautiful beaches. After the two hour drive from The Colmslie Hotel, most of the morning was taken up with a little shopping and some touch rugby on the beach: honourable mentions go to Chris Watson for some nifty footwork resulting in a try scored for skins; and Parag Patel for outwitting the opposition’s defences to score for the shirts, despite nearly dislocating his ankle in the process (Erica administered what looked like painful physio.) Breaking for lunch when several members of the team were breathing a bit hard was a wise decision on the part of the Captain, and lunchtime was called. Several of the team chose a beachfront bar for snacks, while a few others headed further into town for something a bit more substantial.

Suitably fortified, some headed to a nearby bar to watch Wales massacre Fiji 66-0 while others headed back to the beach to hire surfboards and try to catch some breaks. The general consensus was that Chris Watson had the lead in both style and substance over David Luckman and Paul Sykes, with the remaining member of the quartet bringing up the rear (or as one observer put it, dredging the seafloor.) One of the three buses headed North on the two hour drive home to make use of the rest of the afternoon back at the hotel, while the remainder stayed behind an extra hour or two to catch the whole of the Ireland game and conclude their extensive sampling of the local viticulture.

More generally, all of the team seem to be getting used to the time difference, at least partially owing to the Captain’s ban on snoozing between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. The few team members who were unable to travel with the main party as the result of work or personal commitments are due to show up in the next 48 hours or so. We look forward to their arrival and to getting on the range on Wednesday for a short range practice.