Rugby fans dressed as ninja turtles among supporters gathered at UCD

‘If France don’t win I will just go home and cry, ’ one supporter says

 

A group dressed as Ninja Turtles were among the supporters gathered in the Women’s Rugby World Cup Fanzone at UCD this afternoon ahead of Ireland’s clash with France.

Cloe Brevet, a 22-year-old student with the group (but not dressed in a costume) says they are here from France, just for a week, and came to Ireland just for the match. They are dressed as the Ninja Turtles because they hope to get the attention of television cameras.

“I think it’s a good game for France and they have to win... And if they don’t, I can just go back to France and cry,” she adds with a laugh.

Nearby, a queue of people wait for their turn to throw a rugby ball into different sets of holes. Yoshie Terada and her son, Seamus Comer, stand in line. Seamus, who is 7, had scored before and was waiting for his second turn.

Yoshie, from Japan, is married to an Irish man and has been living in Ireland since 2002 Yoshie and Seamus went to the match between Ireland and Japan on Sunday, in which Ireland won 24-14.

“My son is half Irish, half Japanese,” said Terada, “When we went to the match on Sunday, he had Ireland painted on one side of his face and Japan on the other.”

But Seamus was happy that Ireland won. “I think it was an exciting match because normally the team that I want to win wins,” he said.

The queue was getting shorter, and Seamus was pretty confident that he would score for the second time. “I already won one ball,” he says.

Standing near the band, a group of French people gather together. They are wearing feathered hats in the colours of the French flag and have the French flag painted on their cheeks. They just landed in Ireland this morning for the final match.

Aude Behague (26), from Normandy in France, says she started playing rugby 13 years ago.

“We all play in the same team in Normandy,” she says. “Rugby is a sport with many values and we can share many things together.” She hopes that France will win this evening.

But not everyone is optimistic about the match. Sara Phelan (36) from Dublin says she is “worried about tonight’s game.”

“I saw France in their last game and Ireland are yet to get to that level,” she says.

She has been playing rugby for 6 years. To her, rugby means “going out all winter in the freezing cold and mud and training with a great group of people, and getting to bash people up on a Sunday afternoon.”

Sitting next to her, Brid Holohan, originally from Tipperary and this year’s captain of the Clondalkin women’s rugby team has been to the matches on Sunday as well. She says the atmosphere has been great.

“The players are even coming into the Fanzone. New Zealand players were playing [tag] with one of the kids and they were having a little dance off,” she says. “It’s really good, it’s very inclusive.”

For today’s game, she feels “optimistic and hopeful”.

“Their previous two games against Japan and Australia weren’t very confident performances,” she says. “Ireland like being the underdog and that can only stand for them in this match.”

Ciara Lennon, who also plays on the same rugby team as Sara and Brid, says: “The stadiums have been full with lots of different nationalities and different coloured jerseys so it’s really great to see we have so much support for women’s sport finally.”

In the distance, Seamus cheers to the crescendo of the jubilant jazz music in the background.He had finally scored.

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