TOKYO, 21 Oct - It is a curiously old fashioned solution to a modern conundrum but no less effective for that: how do you persuade international rugby players to autograph your souvenirs when you are separated by a 5m drop?
Hats off, literally, to ingenious fans for improvising with pieces of string, above, to lower their precious merchandise to players of both Japan and South Africa to sign, below, after the final whistle in Tokyo on Sunday night. And full marks to the players for stopping to comply with their unusual request.
Not our day
Of all the teams knocked out of Rugby World Cup 2019 over the weekend, France will leave with the greatest feeling of "what if?". None more so than Virimi Vakatawa, who scored a try against Wales and threatened the line on several other occasions on Sunday. This was a classy way to say au revoir.
And that’s a wrap ✊🏿🇫🇷 . It’s wasn’t our day but we will be back 👊🏿 .— Virimi Vakatawa (@vvakatawa) October 20, 2019
Merci à tous pour votre soutien 🙏🏿🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/caPUNL2MiF
Price of success
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar is counting the cost of his late conversion that sealed his side's spectacular comeback to beat France and book a semi-final spot against South Africa. The Northampton player's wife, Alex, and young son are flying out for the remaining games, but he admitted that even his other half had her doubts when Wales were 19-10 adrift at half-time.
"It has cost me a few quid, flying the wife and little one over now, that’s the only downside," he joked. "I think she booked the tickets at half-time with a cancellation policy. It wasn’t looking great then, so it could have been even worse. It will be great to have them out here. Ultimately that’s the most important thing, that’s why a lot of us are doing this, the sacrifices they are making. A few quid down the drain, but that’s OK."
We have no footage of a nervous Mrs B, but presumably her reactions were similar to those of these Welsh fans on Sunday…
Biggar shorts, please
Presumably Biggar does not have to pay for his kit or he would be facing an even bigger bill after giving away as much as he reasonably could to jubilant fans after the final whistle in Oita. It's difficult to imagine the gift of a pair of dirty shorts has ever been more rapturously received.
We have lift off
There is nothing like having a 130kg All Black standing over you in the gym to put you off your dumbell routine, so well done to this gentleman for not dropping them. And to Atunaisa Moli for giving him a helping hand - just in case.
Chefs have a reputation for, how shall we put this, being a little short-fused, but Michel Roux Jr was in conciliatory mood with this striking tweet to former Wales number eight Scott Quinnell.
Roux has run more than 20 marathons and played rugby as a youngster, so he can appreciate the efforts of all involved in France's galling defeat by Wales on Sunday. However, his good wishes towards Wales may be a result of something a lot closer to home: Andre Moore, chef to the Wales team, worked under him at his Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche in London.
It is an emotional day all round as "World Cup rugby lady" Elma watches Wales take on France from the Fanzone before taking her place in the stadium to see Japan against South Africa.
There were so many memorable images after Japan played South Africa on Sunday night that it is difficult to pick just one. But Tendai Mtawarira's apology to Keita Inagaki for the tackle which earned him a yellow card in the first half seems to sum up much of the obvious camaraderie between the teams once the final whistle sounded.
Stat of the day
When Wales fought back from 12 points down to beat France 20-19 on Sunday, they set a record for comebacks by Welsh teams in Rugby World Cup matches. Previously, they had never overturned a deficit of more than 10 points.