Yesterday, Dave and I headed to the All Blacks test match with Brian and Nathalie. We were very excited to see the match, as this was the only game the All Blacks would be playing in Wellington for the entire year, and nothing really beats seeing such a cool event live. As could be expected, obtaining tickets took some doing -- Dave and Brian had to co-ordinate efforts on the morning of the tickets' availability. Dave stood in line whilst Brian attempted to connect to the ticket office online. In the end, their efforts were rewarded and they were able to purchase four tickets to the coveted event. The tickets sold out rather soon thereafter, which is especially impressive given that the stadium seats 40,000 people!
The weather was fairly co-operative -- no rain, but pretty cold once night fell. The no-rain part was key, however, as part of the reason why our seats were cheap was that they were "uncovered". But no matter... as a true child of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, I know how to dress to the elements. ;-) All the same, it was nice to only deal with a bit of cold air, rather than winter-Wellington in all its fury.
We arrive, and to our great surprise, our seats are right on the pitch, next to the try zone! Better yet, the direction was even ideal, as we got to see the Haka (LIVE!) performed facing us. It was even more powerful in person, and the leftover smoke from the national-anthem fireworks lent a rather eerie effect to the spectacle. What a great way to start, though! The crowd went totally wild.
The South Africa Springboks did fairly well, scoring the first try. That was way on the other end of the field, though... but that means that when the All Blacks score their arguably inevitable first try, it would be RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! So, in the very last minute of the first half, the All Blacks finally came through for that try, and got it handily. The picture is here... how cool is that, to be so close? I can't believe these are the cheap seats!
In the second half, the AB's dominated and won by a 20-point margin. Most of that action happened on the other side of the field, though, as they had switched sides at half-time. Now that we already had our pictures, and that victory was certain, we had more attention to look around... and see a rather familiar-looking flag on the other side of the stadium! (Follow the blue arrow.) Also of note was the stadium victuals, which were a far cry from the Corel Centre's $9 water-beer and $8 hot dogs; for a mere $5, you can get some delicious fish & chips, or a proper-sized, bottled beer. Yum! ^_^
The remainder of the evening consisted of instigating a raucous "Happy Birthday" to a complete stranger, a seat-pillow fight between Nathalie and Dave, and Dave temporarily tailing a guy wearing exactly the same raincoat. Much fun was had by all.