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A report from Melbourne
A report from Melbourne
(Sue-NZ goes to Mexico to watch the ABs)
14 Oct 2003
[RWC]

Victoria is not exactly rugby capital of Australia.

 

When trying to discuss the World Cup with the locals Most have started their sentence with,” ah yes you guys have the Warriors”. My guess would be that most of Melbourne doesn’t even know that they are hosts to the world cup.

 

So it came as no real surprise that Melbourne’s opening of the World Cup was a huge let down.

 

Melbourne had laid the foundations for a potentially excellent evening. A massive screen was erected in Federation Square to watch the Australia V Argentina game; they had cheerleaders and entertainment, and Heineken being sold everywhere!

 

What more could you want?

 

Except that very few people showed up, and from those that did it seemed very few were Australian.

 

Pre match preparation the next day started at a bar called the Maori Chief, we walked in there at 11:00 to an already bustling crowd, with a sea of black and white painted faces and flags waving everywhere.

 

There were a lot of empty seats at Telstra dome and tickets could still be purchased at the gate.

 

In the end the stadium was at about 70% capacity, but surprisingly, despite Melbourne’s massive Italian population, the majority of the crowd were New Zealand supporters.

 

The game itself was a perfect crowd pleaser, with constant action especially in the first quarter when the All Blacks were scoring at a rate of almost a point a minute. As many predicted before the start of the World Cup, Joe Rokocoko was the star of the match, being a crowd favorite.

 

Italy was a real hit with the Kiwi crowd, playing with a determined passion and choosing to run the ball on several occasions rather than take penalty shots.

 

When Italy finally scored, the crowd cheered and clapped with just as much vigor as they had for any New Zealand try.

 

For us and many other Expatriates, the night finished off in many of the sports bars at South bank, the atmosphere was fantastic, with an air of excitement and anticipation over the games to come.

View from the stands

by

Let us know what you think!

I'm not sure if Kiwis can really refer to Melbournites as Mexicans (given they aren't south of our borders!), but it certainly seems like they share as much interest in our beloved Rugby as the real Mexico!

Bloody heathens...

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