Adam Ashley-Cooper had the chance to create a happy moment with a childhood friend in a week that has put rugby in stark perspective for the Wallabies veteran.
Guy Grinham, who Ashley-Cooper played junior rugby with and against on the Central Coast and had dealings with as a Shute Shield referee, had the Wallabies on his bucket list as a cancer diagnosis became increasingly serious.
“When we both left the Central Coast, I stayed in the game at a professional level and he absolutely loved the game,” he said.
“The only way he could stay in the game was to become a referee.
“He’s been refereeing since we left school.”
Grinham’s family organised for him to fly to London and Ashley-Cooper visited him before and after the Wales game.
He was confined to a hospital bed but he was able to be at the game and tick off one of his bucket list items as Australia topped their pool.
“We were on his bucket list,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“Having a team, being part of a team, playing at a World Cup, a pretty significant tournament.
“Having us on his bucket list when he was diagnosed with cancer, I thought that was pretty special.
“I thought the least we could do as a team and as a country was to do as much as we can to get him to the game and play for him against Wales.
“We got a really good result and it was a really nice moment being able to share that win with him in that box.
Ashley-Cooper said he was grateful to have the chance to put a smile on Guy Grinham’s face in his final days.
“I think for me when I went and saw him after the captain’s run in Wales, it was emotional because it puts life in perspective,” he said.
“It makes you realise how lucky we are.
“The tragedy and the sad circumstances, it was a real eye opener but I was really happy that i got to share something with him after the game and put a smile on his face.
“A genuine smile on his face.”