My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Thoughts of a rugby fan?

on September 9, 2012

Okay, so I wouldn’t really call myself a rugby “fan” if I’m honest; more a fan of New Zealand teams and live sporting events 🙂

So, this is why, this weekend I had tickets to my first international test match since 1997 when, ironically, I was at Athletic Park with another two friends to watch New Zealand totally blow Argentina off the park 93-8!

The iconic stand at Athletic Park (the ground was closed in 1999 and the stand demolished)

The Argentine team of 2012, however, would seem a much different ball game (if you’ll excuse the pun!).    And it would seem the “advisory” skills of Sir Graham Henry, former All Blacks coach himself, might have had something to do with the fact that the team was able to defend well and keep the All Blacks from being able to dominate most teams they play against these days, with their attacking backline and strong forward pack.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though; because we are now in the Spring months in New Zealand, you never know what you are going to get with the weather and so the day of the test dawned grey and raining and WINDY!  Those gale-force northerly winds topping speeds of 140km/hr were enough to topple my little motor scooter over one night this week, causing me to have to replace one of the mirrors (again; I think that’s the fourth mirror I’ve been through in the six years I’ve owned the bike!)  On the bright side, though, my neighbour very kindly stood my bike back up before I had even got outside to do it myself!  (It cheers me that there is still kindness in the world, sometimes!)

So, grey, windy, raining … and we’re off to sit in the stands at our “new” Stadium to watch rugby – are we mad or what?! Ha ha!

The All Blacks line up for the singing of the national anthems before the test match

The national anthem of New Zealand, I will just add, was sung superbly once again by Benjamin Makisi, who has a fantastic vocal ability and his performance was worth the price of my ticket alone!  The Argentinian anthem always seems, to me, to be all introduction (which is very bright and bubbly and happy) and the actually song is rather short and bemusing (perhaps this is because it’s taken so long to actually get to this point, I don’t know – that could be just me, though).

I don’t remember much particularly about the actual rugby played during the game – it did all seem a bit “stop and start” for my mind, but perhaps this was a deliberate ploy by the Pumas to slow down the All Blacks attacking abilities with stoic defence and penalties.  What do you think about this?

The All Blacks line up on the try line as the Argentinians get to attempt to convert a penalty with a shot at goal

Oh, and I should add that the rain actually left us for a while … while we were all travelling to the ground, taking our seats and singing the anthems.  It then came back with a flourish, or that might have been just cause the wind came back also, and drenched us all nicely for most of the first half of the game, so we were all quite pleased that the first 40 minutes of the match went reasonably quickly, Argentinian defence aside, and the teams were rushing back into the changing sheds for a hot cup of tea and change of shirts!  😉

The second half was rather interesting, to say the least.

After our Ukelele Orchestra again entertained the crowd for ten minutes, the organiser then gave us all heart-attacks by having three fire cannons (I don’t know how else to describe them) suddenly explode from the side of the arena, with huge balls of flames and immensely loud explosions!  And then perhaps they were the reason why, a couple of minutes later just as the teams ran back out onto the playing field, the four floodlights around the Stadium suddenly went out, plunging the 30,000 strong crowd, let alone the confused players and support teams on the field, into darkness!  Certainly something I’ve never experienced at a sporting fixture before!  And the strange thing was, the corporate box lighting and the advertising hoardings were still getting power from somewhere so were providing a slightly eerie glow so that dim shapes could still be seen.  Fortunately also, the DJ hadn’t lost power to his musical equipment so for the next 10 minutes or so, while the technicians frantically rushed around to plug the lights back in, we had quite the dance party at Club Westpac (we even got a boy band in there – “Baby, when the lights go out …”) 😉

I think the delayed start to the second half perhaps was a good thing for the All Blacks … or maybe it was Piri Weepu subbing on about halfway through the second half … but the backline was finally able to click into action and the Wellington crowd were treated to tries to their own wingers, Julian Savea and crowd-favourite, Cory Jane, to top off the evening in stunning fashion!

I’m not sure I will remember too much of the game, or the scoreline (which incidentally was 21-5 to New Zealand), but my second international test match involving the All Blacks will definitely be one to remember!

The All Blacks performing the Haka before the start of the test match

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2 responses to “Thoughts of a rugby fan?

  1. Carm says:

    Okay it might be a stupid question, but what does a test match mean? Does it mean it’s a real game or it is more along the lines of like a pre-season game before the regular season starts later on? I get confused when you mention “test match” in ruby and in cricket when you tweet it.
    Thanks. 🙂

  2. Jess says:

    Okay, so a test match in cricket takes five days to complete; a test match in rugby is the term they use to describe an international game between countries, like for example, a game between New Zealand and Argentina is a test match. Kind of confusing, but they’re pretty different definitions really, when I think about it 🙂

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