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Published: September 19th 2011
The lads..."Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen; soccer is a gentleman's game played by beasts; football is a beastly game played by beasts."
Not even in NZ 2 hours and Simon makes our first match
- Henry Blaha
And once again the whole blog I had written has managed to disapear. That's equally annoying as platic bag backpackers looking ofr something while you try to sleep...
OK, so, checking out of Base - somewhere that in my past experiance I have had a love/hate relationship with, in a city that I also have had a love/hate relationship with - but this time round due to the nature of my trip I am purely loving, said my cheerios to the Irish lads that had become backpacking family over a few days and headed to the airport to pick up Simon Peabody.
Delayed only by his bag also being on some other plane over some ocean, Simon arrived and in a fine state from his past 30 hour travels. We were told by the information center that as Kerikeri (by Bay of Islands, where we were heading that night) had an airport, his bag would be at the pipi patch hostel before we would be, sweet.
Car picked up
and after a visit to the Warehouse to get some waterproofs, we headed to our first game - Italy versus Australia. Easy enough parking and getting into the grounds at the North Harbour stadium, decent enough seats behind the goal line and started taking photos to the delight of a ridiculoulsy expensive heineken beer. Italy perfomed brilliantly in the first half, 6-6 at half time. But they weer no match for the Aussies in the second half and were beaten 32-6 full time. Great banter amongst the crowd, we were acosted by two female Aussies but managed to get away unharmed, lucky escape I thihnk....
Getting out of the carpark however was a different story, it took about an hour and a half to get out of what was again, a very badly organised after thought for evertyone leaving the area. However, on the road and heading North to the place where Simon and my friendship began, the Pipi Patch in the Bay of Islands. Poor lad was knackered so put his head down for a rest as we hit the 4 hour drive North in the dark. I have driven this road many times in the past, mostly
Simon at teh Waitangi grounds
in my old camper 'Freedom' and the grin inside got steadily bigger the closer we got.
To be greeted by not only Saul-man, but Andi too was awesome. The jager bombs began and soon after Jess and Racheal arrived, the carnage of a 4 year reunion onslaught lasted past our memories, welcome back boys :-) A view of the Islands from the car
A few days of catch up carnage in the Bay was a perfect way to kick start our RWC holiday. The second game we went to was an hour away in Whangarei, Tonga Versus Canada. Now I had bought a couple of morphsuits, one Scottish one English, for us both so we decided it was time they made their debut. So with flags for capes, union jack sunnies and a see you jimmy hat, we kitted up and walked from the car to the game. Ok, so most know I'm a bit of an extrovert from time to time, but this was taking the micky. We had become annonimous celebrities, every car tooting its horn, people stopping us to have their photos taken with us, we couldn't stop laughing and relishing the atmosphere and attention. Once inside the grounds, walking along
Back to the city
the terrace at the bottom of the standing area, we were this time acosted by two Tongan women, who for all intent and purposes should have been playing in the teams front row, nearly kidnapped us both. Another narrow escape, although, Peabody came off much worse than I did...
Now, the thing about Morphsuits is that they have limited vision through the fabric and, well, they don't leave much to the imagination. Whilest Simon, with bowler hat, cane, cape and sunnies looked like a slim modern scary but slick ve4rsion of the guy from clockwork orange, I was sporting the more Tellytubby meets a Scottish ginger Mr Blobby. Thankfully the anomininity helps and when no-one can see your face you don't really care, but when the light fades and you have to remove the head wear, you suddenly realise just how naked you are in those suits! Canada won 25-20 and we left a little early to beat the traffic and get back up to Paihia for the Scotland Georgia game. That and the fact we very bloody cold!
Potentially a little too keen to get back for the start of the game, our journey was rudely interrupted
by some flashing lights and a police car giving chase. The chase was unfortunatly meant for us. I think the fact that we pulled over some time before they had caught up to us, had Simons liscence ready and when the officer looked in the open window to see a half naked Englishman in a morphsuit and a Scotsman who was in the process of taking his morphsuit off and putting his kilt on rather crumpledly, might have been what got us off with a warning and a smile. Simon forgetting how old he was didn't help the 118kmh pull over but regardless, no harm done!
An unconvincing win for Scotland when we got there, but a win none the less. A trip to Haruru falls, the Waitangi treaty grounds and a last night out in the pipi, we said our goodbyes and headed south to Hamilton for game 3, New Zealand V Japan. Traffic in Auckland meant that we thought we wouldn't even see the first half but thankfully the traffic gods were just teasing us and we arrived to the game, got to our seats with beers and burgers just in time for the Haka. Great to
see the All Blacks play final score NZ 83-7 Japan! Click for All Black Haka against the Japanese
Accomodation in Hamilton was all booked out so we had to drive to Raglan for a bed, only an hour away. Great hostel, all day breakfast the next day and then drove back to Auckland for the Ireland Vs Australia game. Car in overnight parking, bags in Hostel, met up with Whitey (Simon White) and headed to the game.
Our seats couldn't have been higher and more in the corner, but having said that, we had a cracking view amongst a great group of Irish of what has become the best rugby game I have ever seen. Not the best game of rugby ever but the atmosphere, the crowd, the event and occasion, it was just increadible. A famous Irish win 15-6 and the whole of Auckland partied like it was the last night on Earth. It was indeed like Ireland had won the actual world cup itself! 5am bed with a quadruple rodeo stacker with onion rings in the bun seemed like a suitable way to end the day.
Game number 5 of our 11 total was the next day back in Hamilton. So,
all day breakfast and back on the road to watch Wales V Samoa. Arriving in the nick of time to the Welsh anthem, just about got a half decent place to stand to watch a bruising game of Rugby, well won by the Welsh 17-10. Click here for the Samoa Haka against Wales
So this wee catch up brings me to here and now. We headed to Rotorua to stay with Whitey for a few days after the game. The chance to actually have a lie in past 9am and a few quiet nights too. I know, I know, it's a hard life and you all feel so sympathetic to how much of a strain the trip is on us both... :-)
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