Italy – Day 1

Evening all

Living the glamorous life of an international referee can be hard work! Come to a few conclusions today:

1) I really don’t like flying with Easyjet – just scummy!

2) It really isn’t easy spend a long time with people who don’t speak your language (nor can it be easy for them.

Got here and was picked up by  a chap who works in the tourist bit of Piacenza Council and the Chairman of the local refs society. Tourist chap (Frabrizio) is a good chap – speaks good English so we have a good old chat about things en route to Piacenza – about 45mins SE of Milan.

Went straight to the stadium to meet another chap who seems to be running the show this weekend. Pitch is in glorious nick. Thought as we approached it , that is was astroturf. Must have been a gentle winter in these parts.

Deposited at the hotel, I went for stroll round the local – found supermarket so have stocked up on Powerade and bananas. Can’t have looked that much of a tourist as old lady asked me to help lug down some bottle of water. Well, I think that’s what she wanted as she seemed grateful that popped 2 6packs into her trolley!

Power nap followed by 45 mins in hotel gym seems to have blown out the cob webs. Feeling pretty good.

Mr Chairman (called Gandy by speaks no English) returns with another ref, Giovanni, and we tuck into a meal. Local Copa (like salami) and then a lovely tortellini thing with some bean sauce. I’m still alive so cant have been that bad.

And now Ive retired to chambers to get my head together. My first international beckons and I’m as least prepared as Ive ever been. Unlike league rugby, I cant find anything about either side. Neither seemed to have played so far, but last season at U17 they played each other twice -1 win each, neither by a great deal. Guess Italy v France will also have a bit of an edge to it no matter what age group/level it is so I need to get on top of it early, but then let them get on with it.

Could be a fun day. Weather is great – no clouds so chilly now, but was about 11 deg C today with same forecast for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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