Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy (Blue) Easter

Happy Easter!  I've been celebrating mine with my first pro rugby game.  Last night the Blues - Auckland's team - played the Bulls - one of South Africa's main teams, and the reigning champs of the Super 14 tournament. 

Blues supporters at last night's game in Eden Park Stadium

There were roars and yells, mascots and music, cheerleaders and pompoms (what? this is rugger!), there were yellow card and lost tempers, close calls and tries.  Great fun.  Especially 'cos the Blues gave the Bulls their first, resounding defeat of the tournament.

The Blues have several All Blacks on the squad, which made it interesting for me.  I especially loved the graceful Joe Rokocoko, who slipped though tackles like a fish to engineer two of the game's tries.  We went as a family - Ross, his brother, his mum and dad, and me.  After a quick pre-game beer, we arrived just in time for the last tickets together.  We were given flags to wave (I think my technique needs work) and were able to buy beer and chips - which explains something of the culture of rugby in New Zealand and how it's different from European football.  The two teams' supporters were mixed too.  Reminds me of the old adage:
Football is a game for gentlemen played by hooligans; rugby is a game for hooligans played by gentlemen. 

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