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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 19 April, 2019
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The Happy Camper: the long and winding road...

It’s the morning after the night before and the lads head out for a bit of a bird-watch. Literally.

Wales fans are on the move too ahead of Saturday.
Wales fans are on the move too ahead of Saturday.
Image: Stephen Barker/PHOTOSPORT

THE CHILLY BITE in the air is back, having seen Group C come to its glorious conclusion in the Otago stadium, we journeyed further on down to Invercargill.

Last night in Dunedin was another scene of carnage, with Edinburgh II offering so little outside of its central octagon, all vibrant green life of the south island was condensed inside those eight walls and the results made for a draining end to a fantastic match day.

In our first night in the Pirate RFC clubhouse we asked Adam the chairman (a proud Kiwi despite his Yorkshire accent) what to do in the area. He pointed us to a drive along the Otago peninsula and could think of nothing further to suggest. Today we took his advice and went on the detour along the coast.

At the end of the peninsula is an albatross nesting site on top of a high cliff. The perch offers a great view of the great blue yonder in the Pacific but there are no giant birds, they are elsewhere on their migration pattern.

Continuing the Scottish influence on the city, two roads lead to the peninsula’s end, the high road and the low road. We take the former to get back from our failed bird watching expedition.

‘Both drivers are bullish, unwilling to take a backward step’

The road is twisty and at times narrows to just one lane, at one such point we meet another campervan coming round the corner. ‘You’ll have to reverse, son.’ He doesn’t.

Both drivers are bullish, unwilling to take a backward step and it is no wonder: our nemesis on the bend is none other than the Welsh.

No Mexican has had a standoff like this. We go toe-to-toe, wing mirror to wing mirror, trying to psyche each other out by blanking their existence and maybe connecting with a bit of a shoulder for good measure. Their Dragon snorted from the back seat but Cian was unflinching, you could cut the tension with a knife.

It was reminiscent of Pádraig Harrington walking, without emotion, past Sergio Garcia on the bridge at Carnoustie on his way to the Open Championship – yes, the hyperbole has been well and truly turned up a notch in anticipation of the quarter-final.

New Zealand has been impressed by Deccie’s army. One pundit on the radio today declared it a pity that ourselves and our Celtic cousins were drawn against each other because we were ‘the best teams on that side of the draw.’ However, they clearly still rate Fiji a notch above Italy because they reckon Wales are favourites to win next weekend.

That should suit us just fine then.

Rory Best doubtful for quarter-final with Wales

The Happy Camper: Bring on the Welsh!

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