So this weekend was back to rugby after a few weekends off: one visiting the Wairarapa, another rained out, and last weekend visiting Picton. All were great trips, but I was eager to get back out there. And this weekend was extra special in the world of real rugby, since it was the first international test match of the season: All Blacks versus the Irish.
The good news of my game Saturday was that I was in the starting fifteen, playing number six, or blindside flanker. The bad news of the game was that I didn't play very well. The worst of it came when I fell over into a crowd of guys pushing the ball forward in a group (called a maul). Imagine roughly 10 big guys all pushing like hell, wearing spikes, and barely noticing that you're there as they try to get the advantage. Honest to God, being stuck in that crowd, these guys blocked out the sun. I tried to crawl out, but they kept following me!
Anyway, I wound up looking like a draw by numbers game with all the spike marks on me. Am resolved to go out next week and really kick some butt.
After the game came the ritual meet up at the pub, and we settled in to watch the All Blacks take on the Irish. The game was great--really tight with the Irish leading at half-time, but with the ABs coming back to win in the end.
Possibly the coolest thing was seeing the Haka on live TV. Imagine 50 000 rabid Kiwis bellowing a Maori war chant at the visiting team, led by their most favored players who accompany the chant with really intense, agressive actions. If you've never seen it, check out some video here, or for a more souped up version, here. It's incredibly stirring, projects power, aggression and sheer 'Ahmacummintagitcha' like nothing else. It's certain to leave you with goosebumps.