We’ve recently started to watch the rugby at Issoire on Sunday afternoons, when they’re playing at home. Watching rugby used to be a big part of our lives. We were season ticket holders at Leeds Carnegie, and one memorable season we went to most of the away games, as well as the home ones at Headingley Stadium.
We tried the rugby club at Brioude when we first moved over to France, but somehow didn’t get into the habit of going regularly, and hadn’t seen any live games for a good while before this season started. But the weekends just weren’t the same without the emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows that comes with following a sporting team. Well, mostly lows if you’re a Leeds fan, to be perfectly honest. But that just makes the occasional highs all the sweeter.
Leeds tended to yo-yo between the Premiership and Championship in the UK, although of late they’ve been firmly rooted in the latter. Issoire are a couple of levels lower down, and play in a regional league, but they have a lovely little ground, a good fan-base, and they play an attractive style of running rugby. I took these shots at the game against St Junien on Sunday, and you can see how beautiful the setting is.
Unfortunately, Issoire conceded a penalty try within the first 30 seconds, which has to count as one of the worst starts to a game I’ve ever seen, and they never really recovered, eventually losing 22-28. It was a good afternoon though, and we were bathed in unseasonably warm sunshine throughout. We intend to carry on going, and it will be ‘interesting’ to see what the ground is like in January and February. Cold, I suspect. Better dig out those thermal base layers!