I’ve seen a lot of rugby games at the Stadium in Wellington, and a few at Athletic Park, Carisbrook and Lancaster Park, but had never been to a match at Eden Park before.
And it was a great game to watch up close. The first Dan Carter penalty was a nice little morale booster as so much was riding on this game. No not just the Bledisloe Cup, but everyone was aware that this could be the the Rugby World Cup final in two months time – New Zealand vs Australia.
Nonu’s try just before 10 minutes was a close call and right on the boundary. Very impressive conversion from Carter. Then the All Blacks are all defence, and yay they don’t let the Wallabies through. Then Mealamu burrows over the line and with an easy conversion it is 17-0. Around this stage I am thinking it should be an All Black victory, but things could change. And a nervous 10 minutes as the Wallabies get close several times to scoring, but the All Blacks don’t let the pressure get to them. 17-0 at half time is a good result.
A Carter drop goal to start the second half scoring off with gets smiles all around, and I start to think maybe the All Blacks can not concede a point. A couple of minutes later the Wallabies score a well deserved try. The speed of a couple of their backs is amazing.
Two minutes later the All Blacks score again and Carter kicks perfectly to make it 27-7. With 25 minutes to go I mentally conclude this is going to be a win – the battle is now for the score. Wallabies spend much of the next 15 minutes attacking again, and while I’m not happy we’re in defence so much, it’s great to see them hacking the pressure. Then around 12 minutes to go and Carter kicks a penalty bringing up his 15th point in the match.
30-7 would have been a great full-time score but with five minutes to go the Wallabies get another try, and sadly they deserved it. The final score of 30-14 is a fair reflection of the match.
In terms of the facilities, Eden Park was looking magnificent, and well up to the Rugby World Cup. Not much of a queue to get in, and the traffic into Kingsland Shops was pretty light, and from there an easy walk to the park. Scores of police, security and guides around to make sure you get to the right gate without problems.
Watching rugby on tv is good fun. But there is something great about being there in the stadium, and soaking up the atmosphere. I’ve already got tickets for some of the Rugby World Cup games – I think I’ll get some more. South Africa v Wales on 9/11 looks fun. Already booked in for Australia vs USA. I love the idea of 30,000 people cheering for the US!
France v Tonga has promise also. Not sure the Frenchies will be used to the size of the Tongans. At this stage not planning to see NZ vs Canada, because expectations are so high for a thrashing, we can’t live up to them. Am leaning towards the third quarter-final in Wellington also.
Tickets for the final are all gone, but if NZ is going well might try and go up to Auckland for their semi-final if tickets still remain by then.