TOKYO, 29 Oct - If you don't ask, you don't get, they say. But that cheeky begging call to the boss is never easy.
"I was so nervous," said Ben Curry, identical twin of England flanker Tom, in an interview with the BBC.
Ben was due to play for Sale Sharks against Bristol this weekend, but will now fly to Tokyo to watch his brother in Saturday's final after Sale's director of rugby Steve Diamond gave his approval.
Of course, it helps boost the courage when you have a social media campaign behind you.
"What would I remember when I'm 60, one game against Bristol or my twin playing in a World Cup final – and possibly winning it – with me in Japan?" said Curry.
Diamond clearly took the long view, too, readily agreeing to give Ben, also a flanker, the time off.
Thankyou everyone involved in making this happen.Firstly @SaleSharksRugby for their support and I want to express my gratitude towards dimes, Simon and ged!thank you to all the sale fans who have been doing their part on social media! Rugby is more than a sport #GetBenToJapan— Ben Curry (@BenCurry98) October 28, 2019
Ben did not mention who will be looking after the two cats he acquired to keep him company at the brothers' shared flat near Altrincham, which he says is far neater without Tom in it.
But he does intend to osmose everything he can from Tom after his Rugby World Cup experience. Ben was picked for an England XV in 2017, but had to withdraw through injury. With the brothers aged just 21, there is every chance the England back row may one day feature twin flankers.
Fresh prince from the air
Last time Prince Harry attended a Rugby World Cup final, just 20km from Windsor Castle, he had to hand the Webb Ellis Cup to Richie McCaw at Twickenham, above.
He now flies out to Japan, fresh from a round-table discussion on gender equality at Windsor Castle, with at least a 50 per cent chance of handing the trophy to a captain from the home nations.
McCaw spotted in the wild
An Argentina fan who styles himself as #TheRadar on Twitter thanks to his ability to home in on famous sports stars has proved equally unerring in Tokyo.
Manuel, below left, reports that Richie McCaw looked as finely honed as ever he did when he set off for a run from Toranomon towards Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace.
What a guy
Alun Wyn Jones is one of those people. The first man you would want leading your team out, marrying your daughter, next to you in the trenches.
In an ITV interview last week, he was asked whether he would draw inspiration for Wales's semi-final from his boyhood at Bonymaen RFC in East Swansea. Jones welled up, and a nation welled up with him.
His dignified response in defeat has also made grown men emotional.
You know you reached some serious highs in professional rugby when your sitting watching an Alun Wyn Jones interview and your wife says “did you play against him”, and you puff your chest out and say “yes dear, yes I did” #rugbyCV 🤣🤷♂️— Darren Cave (@darrencave13) October 27, 2019
Millions more South Africans will now have a chance to watch Saturday's final after the national broadcaster, SABC, reached a deal to show it. No need to go to the local pub, like the 16-year-old Siya Kolisi.
The news follows a Twitter backlash after South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa trolled British prime minister Boris Johnson about the final, and many fans pointed out they would not have the chance to see it.
There really is nothing like a Rugby World Cup final to bring out the nostalgia in people.
Love this photo! Siya Kolisi is the schoolboy, Schalk Burger is the player dishing out an autograph. Now Siya is the Bok Captain, Schalk is the @SuperSportTV analyst. Thanks for sharing @DJFreshSA @KayaFMTalk #KayaBreakfast pic.twitter.com/icWsIK2sQG— David O'Sullivan (@davidosullie) October 28, 2019
And the 18-year-old John Smit was already a formidable leader in the front row.
Wow, that’s a blast from the past!!! And if I remember correctly we won it at the death with a charge down??? Help me out... https://t.co/0HAzjKX676— John Smit (@JohnSmit123) October 29, 2019
Rugby comes second
Joe Cokanasiga, on the other hand, had to be torn away from the round-ball game. His touch may have been too ponderous even to make a centre-back, but a focus on footwork does not seem to have harmed his rugby wing play.
Japes with Joe
Joe Marler has never laid claim to any special agility. To be fair, a head that size probably does require a more ample pillow. But you expect Nigel Owens would be having none of this accidental-on-purpose tackle.
England prop Joe Marler & his giant travel-pillow arrive with a bump at the team’s Tokyo city centre hotel ahead of the RWC final ...(wait for it).. pic.twitter.com/sVkOqubb5G— Dan Roan (@danroan) October 29, 2019
Another prop, ex-England international David Flatman, had the opposite accessorising dilemma.
Today I’m with @JohnSmit123 and @dovemenUK helping a local community rebuild itself after it was badly effected by Typhoon Hagibis. The van driver tipped us into a field and the wellies weren’t designed for the larger calf, but otherwise a great day. pic.twitter.com/nU7hCvGiLQ— David Flatman (@davidflatman) October 28, 2019
RWC daily goes to Hollywood
And your commentators for today are Jerry Bruckheimer and Ang Lee...
Fact of the day
Wales have not beaten their bronze final opponents New Zealand since December 1953 (13-8). Wales won three of their first four matches against New Zealand but have lost all of the subsequent 30. Wales have also never beaten New Zealand outside Cardiff.