Nobody's too old to have a wild time in VEGAS....


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WEEK 23- Vegas baby but TRA (tour rules apply) so will stick to the rugger bit ... or maybe just a taster of the social....
Night one - beers meet up with other refs - breifing - gentle reminder that usa happily ignore some irb directives :)
more beers, (p###### spillage/falling over after a couple ), casino with USAF to look after me..
Night 2 - meet up with irb , quiet beers (not!!) early hours catch s##### in ######### foyer ###### ## six foot blonde ###### unaware being watched from balcony by ##### , ### ## , loads of fans. later in ##### childref ##### happily sittting at bar unaware ## ## about ## ### shafted ## a $2,000 ###### who may even be a #######

Certain parts (###...) deleted for legal reasons- RB.

o.k in that case as TRA- sticking to the rugby- day 1 -LVI , q.pleased to have first and last game of the day (not really).
Actually looking forward to doing Hawaii v Tsunami (Servei's boys) as have heard good things about former and latter were real good last year but Hawaii are no show (which is bummer.)
Get to do colorado v northwest instaed - not quite polynesian style or pace but pretty good. Turn up to do Hawaii's 2nd game -hoping they have eventually found sam boyd stadium - -2 "Islander" skips approach me for breif - confirm one as representingg East Palo Alto (EPA) turn to other "are you from Hawaii" "yes sir" "glad you made it" and get on with breif, am about to blow for KO when EPA coaches rush on "stop that isn't Hawaii- ..." call skip over "now when i said are you from Hawaii i meant are you their team" " oh no sir but i was born there and we really want to play these guys " EPA skip chimes in " and we want to play them as they have x,y,z from Fiji playing. Am tempted to get on with it but conscious that it might mess up tourney i resist.
Anyway lots of good running rugby through the day on firm, dry pitches -v.warm though, about 65.
Did some pretty decent teams though Tsunami not as good as last year, EPA surprisingly able, dixie st (?) variable and UBC heat good.
Evening- party at hollywood,casino , TRA

Friday- even hotter (70ish) , have to check out as WWI due in and refs hotel not up to scratch but nice Pilgrims-(u.k. team ) have adopted me and chauffeur me about ,though whinge about yank refs (despite me explaining the new "pink" card protocol for pussies) -their only valid moan being for some reason they aren't allowing tap and go penalties.) . Make it early for my 8.40 k.o so end up doing someone elses 8.00 ! (though barely awake.) Lots of decent mens stuff including cup semi and plate final. Good teams include Humless (?? no idea who they are but good islanders), EPA and South Shore. First game up is Melbourne (lots of Samoans and Fijans) despite stern breif -"no whinging, appealling (and that includes coaches)- it isn't socccer". After 3rd chorus of "knock on/offfside/high ref." blow up, call skips over to read the riot act. Huge but excellent guy comes up, says with a wink "sorry sir -we've brought all our bad habits over with us " "well at least you haven't headhunted anyone yet". Turns out to be some ex-superstar Samoan who knows me well of old. Was actually v.impresssed with Islanders discipline/tackling throughout the tourney (including the IRB stuff,) - certainly not like days of yore. My only cards of the day go to the SinCity Fire boys who are great fun but not good at rugby and just a tad violent ( thereafter am greeted by sirens/hooters from their watching trucks every time i take to the field).
Lots of beers at the ground (barmanager is my new BF- well he was from u.k.), with fellow refs who are excellent bunch from all parts (mates from Socal, Canada,Texas, NYC ,ex-U.K. and new friends from most states). Also joined by some of the potbellypigs who i ref in HongKong !!)
Dash to Cosmo to meet up with WWI- dinner at Wolfgangs, back to P.Hollywood to party with all including S.Lander who is in fine fettle though a bit miffed with some of the organisation
and wants to talk me through it all (explain am only here for the beer and nowt to do with USA rugby and WWI only here to give out trophies not kickass.). He chills out and then TRA though i seem to get home with honour intact and lots of chips).

Sat.- nice Eagles ladies coach (knows me from wrwc) gives me early morning lift to stadium (though does involve interesting series of u-turns on highway - yanks don't do satnav or even compasses :)
We pick up their strength/conditioning coach who is delightful French Canadian who bizarrly trained in WALES and lived in Barry so we giggle through gavin and stacey routines to the bafflement of the others,
Arrive at 7.45 hoping for easy day of ARing to be told big game at 9.00 and also at noon (what- should be on 3rd beer by then!!)
2 mins later "good job you're here - can you run over and do the 8.00 -its penn sate v arizona"- just before ko realise an awful lot of students on pitch and realise its 15's!! so obviously miss out on good 9.00 ( and womens IRB stuff). NOT best way to start the day- expecting 14 min. pipe opener and get 80 mins of huge intensity (winners get to strut their stuff later on main pitch). Some of the Arizona coaches more "intense" to the point of losing control -frequent "pink card" warnings)
Lots of other AR/coaching stuff through morning and WWI arrives just as i walk off my last game at 12.20 (but that's par for the course.)
Finally done with the whistle- excellent tourney, excellent co-refs, mostly well behaved players . Organisation a tad better than last year though still a bit reliant on pen and paper (need to get the childrefs involved with their smartphones, ipads etc.) Organisers did sterling job (often late into the night whilst rest of us out partying) and one remarked " be neat if you let people know this was a little less SNAFU than last time". (One IRB suit remarked " its not like rosslyn park" to which i replied " oh f**k off and give them a break london have been doing that for 92 years - this is their 3rd")

Therafter into VIP lounge at stadium - incredible fun though for 2nd year WWI too modest to get on stage to dish out trophies (even though Samoa happy to get naked for her). V.relaxed not at all like twickers , lots of real nice people having a ball.Lots of freebies etc, ,rrf hat live on NBC, with the teams and oddly q.often with the sevens sweethearts (whose hip flexors are officially longer than mine)
Am introduced by one of the hospitality girls to Dan Lyle - i said " you won't remember me" he retorted " what even after that ourtrageous pk against me at the middlesex in 2001 just for killing the ball :)
me " glad to see you still involved and enjoying it - have thay got you a gig this weekend " " sort of- i'm the tournament director but will be up for a proper old Bathtype sherbert or 2 tonight"

sat evening- refs dinner but en route am
shanghaied by the irish/uk/ladyref contingent in the bar. At 9 p.m WWI says " wasn't it an 8.30 sitdown??" " oh bugger but hey we're having a good time here lets stay (WWI not happy when not fed but soon gets into some "interesting" chats with local refs (though i did warn her not to go near gun control or how dumb are republicans :) )She doesn't know whether to laugh or cry when one of the young (and very good) USA ladyrefs calls
her "ma'am" during conversation. All other refs join us later and here's one for the poll forum - s.lander bets me he can already name me the RWC15 Final ref (one of those present).
Obviously i take the bet.
Sunday- more of the same, irb dinner, court, wrap party, sponsors dinner . casino but strictly TRA (WWI bails at midnight -promise to join her later but she catches me sneaking in at 6.00 a.m. as she is getting ready for gym.) Excellent recovery lunch at Spago's coutesy of Caeser"s (one of WWI co-sponsors) (laughs all round when their boss hands me one of their "emperor" highroller cards and i explain how chuffed i am
at turning my $200 betting pot into $420)

REGRETS- i've had a few... no liberty cup this year -didn't get to do any ladies, vets or much decent collegiate this year (despite pleading of BYU girls,pilgrims/potbellies and USAF boys)
Biggest regret - get off plane to do english students game expecting low level walk in the park but is 1st v 3rd in league ( last 3 encounters 1 point games with numerous fights apparently).
Luckily good as gold for me -team in 3rd win by 5 though my legs real heavy and am hoarse by end!!