Due to rugby still, unbelievably, not being the most popular sport in these parts, I got front row seats for $30 at the last minute. But what should I wear? My Wales top, just to annoy the Scottish fans? My Houston Sabercats T-Shirt, to show my Texan credentials? In the end I put on my Haas rugby shirt, from the last time I played rugby competitively (I use that word as loosely as is possible).
I walked over to the stadium, through the "fan zone", where plenty of kilts and much drinking was in evidence. Inside it was actually a good deal fuller than I'd feared, and a fluffy bald eagle was wandering about distributing T-shirts, because America and whatnot. Scotland are ranked so far above the US that it was wise to party before the match.
Scotland scored within the first minute, which confirmed my lack of optimism for a competitive evening. The USA trailed by two scores at half-time, when their coach must have employed some choice language in the changing room because then it was a different story. After a blistering second half from the home team the Scots scored a try after the 80th minute which meant everything came down to Blair Kinghorn slotting the conversion. And he missed! Cue huge celebrations from the crowd, most of whom had been chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A" for the previous half-hour, with a 30-29 victory, their first ever over a major, "Tier 1" nation.
All-in-all it was surprisingly fantastic, with the local Sabercats in attendance and the kind of good-natured atmosphere that accompanies rugby anywhere in the world. Will the USA be added to the Six Nations next year? Will the Houston sun be baking the pasty skins of even more Europeans as they travel with their teams? Will "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" be ringing out over the terraces of Texas? About as likely as finally getting my Wales call-up, methinks.
Beer? Check. Man in kilt? Check.
The Scots warm up, as if that were necessary.
I wonder if I'll meet anyone else who played for Haas? Hint: no.
And there's the Scottish try, at 0:59.
I even made it into the BBC's highlight package! Fame!!
Decent line-out for USA.
And the hooker scores!
Regardless of crowd size, USA supporters always win the enthusiasm trophy.