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Tuesday 28 September 2010 | Published in Regional


The main contingent of the CI Diplomats arrived safe and sound into Sydney on Saturday September25 and met up with those who were already in Australia.

Early on Sunday a group of four braved the Harbour Bridge climb, the hours slogging up hospital hill paying off, while the others made Paddy’s market and the fish market their first port of call prior to the opening parade.

As you can imagine, trying to assemble over 4000 people into a very small assembly area results in few delays, but we had arranged for a group of Sydney based drummers and dancers to add some local flavour to the parade, so they kept the crowd entertained, supported by members of the Mongoose Cultural team.

The CI contingent of 48 plus the dancers and drummers made a big impact on the parade through the streets of Central Sydney to the Darling Harbour Convention Centre, the venue for the much awaited Welcome Party. Four hours of non-stop top line entertainment! The Diplomats first game was the invitation game against The Gentlemen of Sydney who made a late replacement of Robbie Deans the Wallabies coach for Tony Abbott who had parliamentary duties that day.

What a replacement – he was a magnet, all our players wanting photos taken with him. We struck a slight hiccup with the plan to field a combined Diplomat and Mongoose team for this game.

Unfortunately the Mongoose were playing their first game way over on the other side of Centennial Park, so we roped in a few players from another team to make up our numbers until the Mongoose players arrived.

We had no shortage of volunteers to play when they realised that we were to play against ex-Wallabies and NSW rep players plus Dingo Deans.

Despite the lack any serious training runs, the Diplomats scored first with a try to our Managian Warrior. The opposition soon leveled the score with a good break by Robbie Deans from full-back for the first of his two tries. Despite the Indian playing in his gold shorts – no tackles – he was flattened by 6’4” of Warrick Waugh.

When asked if he was colour blind, he said with a big grin on his face: “How do you expect me to see coloured shorts way down there’ pointing to below his knees.”

The match referee, none other than Stu Dickinson Aussie top referee, gave him a yellow card, which turned out to be an invitation to the bar for a drink. No wonder our players were lining themselves up for the same ‘penalty’.

The Mongoose impact players made their mark with Tok taking charge from half-back combining well with Jesse leading to tries.

After the game the players were invited to the ‘Corporate Box’ a few drinks with the Gentlemen of Sydney.