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England fan on crutches heading to Japan after booking flights ‘five pints down’

Rob Lewis, who is recovering from a knee operation, is yet to find a ticket for the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa.

Rob Lewis in hospital and England’s Owen Farrell (Rob Lewis/Ashley Western/PA)
Rob Lewis in hospital and England’s Owen Farrell (Rob Lewis/Ashley Western/PA)

By Alistair Mason, PA

A rugby fan who booked flights to Tokyo “four or five pints down” after watching England’s win over New Zealand is poised to arrive in Japan on crutches with no accommodation and no ticket to the World Cup final.

Rob Lewis, a web designer from Sunbury-on-Thames, started looking up flights after a boozy morning with friends watching England’s semi-final victory on Saturday.

“At 11 o’clock in the morning when I’m four or five pints down, the idea popped in my head to look at flights to Tokyo,” the 36-year-old told PA.

He managed to find an Air France flight with just a short stopover in Paris for £650 return, leaving on Tuesday.

“With all my mates next to me saying ‘you wouldn’t go to Japan’, I desperately wanted to prove them wrong so I then went ahead and booked them and that was that,” he said.

Mr Lewis as yet has no ticket for the final against South Africa, which takes place in Yokohama on Saturday, or any accommodation.

And while he has no fear of finding himself a hostel when he arrives in Japan, there is one issue when it comes to tracking down a ticket.

England were highly impressive in their semi-final win over New Zealand (Adam Davy/PA)

“I had a knee operation just over a week ago so I’m on crutches at the minute,” he said.

“I’m going to be hobbling around Tokyo on crutches trying to get a ticket on the final, which is pretty dumb but worth it for the adventure I guess.”

Indeed, Mr Lewis – who described himself as “elite bandwagon” for waiting until the final to head to Japan – has an appointment with his consultant on Tuesday morning, just hours before he is due to fly.

“If he says he’s going to assume I’m not flying anywhere with my knee, then I might just be like ‘no, of course not mate’ and then head straight to Heathrow,” he said.

Searching on Twitter and resale sites, the cheapest final ticket he has found so far is £1700.

“That’s a little out of my price range,” he said. “It feels like having my pants pulled down.”

(Rob Lewis)

And while he is prepared to spend a few hundred pounds to get inside Yokohama’s International Stadium, he will be happy enough to soak up the atmosphere in one of the fan zones if he cannot find anything in his price range.

“I’m fully aware that I might not be able to get a ticket, but I guess that’s going to be half the fun – trying to get a ticket this week,” he said.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding aspects of the trip, he is still looking forward to it.

“When you sober up and the reality of it kicks in that you have to do a bit of organisation, you do wonder if you should be regretting the decision,” he said. “But I try not to think negatively like that. It’s done now. It’s going to happen.

“Let’s try and find a ticket.”



From Belfast Telegraph