A busy but brief visit to Melbourne came to and end today with a morning flight to Auckland. Even then we managed to fit in a breakfast meeting with a student before grabbing a taxi to the airport. I had forgotten to warn Michael that Air New Zealand, while very nice are sticklers for the rules so he didn't have a print of his ticket to prove he was not planning to illegally settle there. But we got through that, with good humour however.
Now it occurred to me after (honestly it was after) the schedule for this trip was fixed that I was in the Southern Hemisphere at the time of the Tri-nations so I checked schedules and by sheer good luck the All Blacks were playing Australia at Eden Park two hours after we landed. So nothing daunted I bought a ticket in advance. I offered to get one for Michael, but he opted for the hotel which worked well. Given a planned walk tomorrow we needed a hire car for the weekend so I grabbed one at the airport and drive into town. Approaching the ground I drew off and let Michael take on the car and my luggage while I strolled down to the ground. Each country has its own culture, but the New Zealand habit of kids setting up stalls and dancing displays on the road leading to the stadium is a novel one!
I made the stadium with enough time to eat and admire the new ground. The last time I was there was well before the redevelopment. I shed a tear for the world cup final that might have been on that ground if it had not been for that nonsensical sending off. But that is in the past now, although never to be forgotten! Either way the new ground and stands are awesome, although little cover for many of the spectators in the event of rain. Its easy to get to, good food by the standards of these place and comfortable seating.
What was disturbing is that five Kiwi's had been killed on active duty in the previous week and the request for a minutes silence was not universally respected. Some people shouted, others then tested the echo effect of a near silent ground. We had something similar in the Millennium Stadium last year and its a disgrace, alcohol is no excuse for showing such little respect. What was worse is that the crowd tolerated it. I commented on this and other Rugby matters in my CymruCulture column for those interested.
As to the match, well I just hope both teams make that many mistakes when they play us in November….
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