I came to the UK at the start of 2011 and the timing of that decision meant I missed possibly the biggest sporting event in New Zealand’s history, the Rugby World Cup. I’ll never forget watching the final at the Walkabout in Shepherd’s Bush but not being there to see it in person always bothered me a little. As luck would have it, come 2015 the Cup came to the UK and after a very favourable ballot, I intended to take full advantage.
There were fan-zones set-up all over London, usually in parks, where people could come watch the game on big screens with plenty of booze. The opening All Blacks game against Argentina. 26-16.
A couple of Kiwis, an Aussie and a Welshman on the tube.
The Olympic stadium…hosting the All Blacks and Namibia.
In what was just one of the filler pool games, the ABs predictably dominated 58-14.
Got myself into England vs. Wales at Twickenham to decide who would escape from the pool of death. England (and the crowd) thought they had the match in the bag only for Wales to steal it in the last 10mins. Scenes.
The third pool game took us to Newcastle to see the All Blacks take on Tonga. Was a strange sight seeing rugby in a football stadium of such history, the All Blacks taking it 47-9.
Somehow we got tickets in the front row, being such a camera friendly group of guys, the worldwide media couldnt help themselves. Job well done and our 5 minutes of fame were glorious.
Out of the pool and into the quarter finals in Cardiff agains the familiar foe, France. Again, some fantastic seats 5 rows back.
Demons vanquished for the wrongs of 2007. The All Blacks roll on to the semi-finals with a resounding 62-13 victory.
In a serious yolo moment, before the semi-final victory against South Africa, I acquired two tickets and “convinced” Lukas to come along to the biggest stage in our sport; a final against Australia.
Game-time. Beers and a strong start by the All Blacks put some of the nerves to rest. The Wallabies attempted a late comeback but by then it was too late.
The glorious victory fireworks. 34-17 and the All Blacks are the 2015 Rugby World Cup Champions. First team to win away from home and first team to win back-to-back. History.