You Americans may be all concerned about the World Series, all about how the Royals are up 2-0 in the series. In this part of the world, it’s all about the rugby.
New Zealand and Australia are competing against each other in the Rugby World Cup final in England this weekend. The two teams have already faced each other twice this year, each team winning on their home turf: the Wallabies winning in Sydney and the All Blacks winning in Auckland.
Back in August, the Kiwi and I scored tickets to watch the Auckland match, where the All Blacks won 41-13. Eden Park was a 20-minute walk from our old place, so we sauntered up that afternoon and thought we could get an afternoon beer at a nearby bar before the match. HAHAH. All the bars were PACKED.
Instead, we entered Eden Park early, got some delicious brats and some of the local brew, Steinlager, in a plastic bottle. We also got these great photo ops of the stadium before it was full of rugby fans.
The All Blacks fans were super excited to see a win on home turf. As the All Blacks ran up the score and ran down the clock, the crowd started the wave (aka the Mexican wave outside of the U.S.) in which every time spectators stood up, they launched their plastic beer bottles in the air. Meaning people would have to dodge the bottles on their way down from the [Mexican] wave.
Except us. We were in the very last row.
That winning game was the one in which the All Blacks kept the Bledisloe Cup, a yearly competition between the All Blacks and the Wallabies. So in a way, this final seems to me like another Bledisloe. But there’s more on the line for the All Blacks: If they win, they will be the first team to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups. And this one they would have won on foreign soil, since the 2011 Cup final was in Auckland at Eden Park.
A win may cap off the careers of quite a few big figures on the All Blacks, particularly the captain Richie McCaw, if this final is his last game (jury’s still out.) McCaw is a national sports figure who if he wanted to run for Prime Minister, it would definitely make news. But McCaw has said he has no interest in public office.
This weekend, we’ll watch the final game at a friend’s house, bleary eyed because it will kick off at 5am NZT. If the August Bledisloe match was any indication, this final should be a good game for All Blacks fans.