The RWC Finals Weekend

FRIDAY to SUNDAY, 21th – 23rd October

Funny thing, when you travel a lot you start meeting the same bus drivers. The one who took me from Tauranga to Auckland was the same one who took me from Matamata to Hamilton a couple weeks earlier. What was even more surprising, he remembered me!

I was in Auckland after 12 p.m. and P., my friend from Australia, who was coming to see the Bronze Final with me that evening, was landing at 2:40 p.m. I had asked him to catch Airbuss Express from the airport to the city centre, as I wasn’t sure if I made it to welcome him there and mostly I didn’t want to spend about $30 on going just back and forth. I left my bag in a locker at the bus station and spend my extra time before P.’s arrival in the Auckland Library updating my blog.

When P. finally got through the traffic after 4 p.m., we only had time to pick up my bag and catch a bus to Te Atatu peninsula. We were staying again at J.&Ch.’s with two sons and a cat, Mortimer.

Does it happen to you often that you’re so focused on your plan that you miss other more convenient opportunities? When we got off the bus in Te Atatu, the bus driver checked out when the next bus was and if we had enough time to go back to see the match, and it was in two hours and there was a risk we may be late. He even asked how long we would need to leave the bag, because he could wait for us and take us back to the city, but I wanted to have time to say ‘hello’ to J. and thought it would be rude to just pop in, leave the bag and run off. So I let the driver go and then we found out that J. wouldn’t mind us going straight to catch the bus after leaving the bag. But it was too late.

J. showed us a poster made by one of her boys 🙂

And we were late for the match, of course, about 15 minutes. We missed Australia’s first try, and I was happy not to see it, because I hate looking at P.’s smug face. Again, because of missed penalty kicks, Wales lost and the Wallabies got away with the third place in the World Cup.

I also felt sorry for Quade Cooper. He looked like he tripped over his own foot, but in fact he got a knee injury. When he came back for his medal, his leg was wrapped and taped.

I realized I hadn’t had a photo of me in Eden Park!

I didn’t have many plans for SATURDAY, except for seeing The Black Seeds in Fanzone in the evening. And again awesome H., my friend from Auckland, came with a helping hand and her car. I didn’t mind seeing the same places I had seen before as long as P. had a good day, because it was his first visit to New Zealand and a very short one. He was leaving the next day.

First, we had lunch on Ponsonby Road, next we went to Mt Eden, One Tree Hill and then hot chocolate at Mission Bay. On Friday the weather was beautiful, but on Saturday it got cloudy and windy again. I didn’t feel well, my muscles ached, I had sore eyes and I couldn’t eat much. I was afraid to get sick. I didn’t want to waste my time lying in bed here, while the South Island was waiting. I took some painkillers in the evening and luckily, I was feeling better the next day. Interesting enough, I was feeling great already when I was listening to The Black Seeds that evening! But we had to wait for them quite a while, because they weren’t the only act performing then. Others weren’t bad at all. The first band was Rubberband, then 1814.

The third band was Katchafire. The crowd went mad when they started playing Get Away and from that on, it was a general sing-a-long.

There were two huge boats standing in the wharf and Katchafire was very popular among the kitchen crew

The Black Seeds started playing before 11 p.m. Some people were already pretty drunk, others were leaving to catch their last buses home. My bus was at 11:30, but H. said she’d drive us home. ( :-* ). So there were less people in the audience than for Katchafire. How the band played you can hear it yourselves, a couple new songs you can find there and this is what they played as an encore:

SUNDAY

In the afternoon, I went to the city centre to soak up the atmosphere before the grand final. Quay Street was closed, Queen Street was still open when I got off the bus, but soon after that it was closed, because of too many people already walking on the road.

The Fanzone in Queen’s Wharf had already been full since 2 p.m. and security wasn’t letting anyone in.

Nevertheless, some people were still queuing, maybe they were Gin Wigmore‘s fans, because she was giving a free concert in the evening.

Cook’s Wharf was open and the security was sending people there.

Mostly I saw All Blacks supporters.

French fans decided to stay together

However everyone was very friendly

Some people couldn’t afford to buy All Blacks jerseys.

or maybe they just wanted to be like Dan Carter

I found Mr Vintage shop. It’s on the way to Eden Park and it was busy when I was going back home.

I had a really bad bus connection to Te Atatu, because it was Sunday and I wouldn’t have had one, if I wanted to watch the game somewhere in the city, so I decided to get back home and watch the Final with J., Ch. and their friends.

The atmosphere was tense during the game and I didn’t want to think what would have happened, if the All Blacks lost. New Zealand needed that win to lift up its spirit after a though year of disasters like Pike River mine, Christchurch earthquakes and now Rena oil spill. And the All Blacks brought some light and something New Zealand is so proud of. They’re their gladiators, role models, heroes. I really like Stephen Donald, an unlikely hero. It was his first World Cup match. When he went on to that field, Ch. said that he didn’t think it could get any worse, but it did. I replied, what was the difference between Piri and him missing the goals (I still love ya, Piri). None, so what was the problem? And then Steve just simply kicked those 3 points that gave New Zealand the advantage. Perfect. What a guy. He may have been worthless in other matches, but he was the right person in the right time then.

I must confess, I had tears in my eyes when the match was over. Tears of joy and relief.

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