Ever since I’ve been in New Zealand I wanted to see a rugby game – ideally in a giant stadium. Who knew that this dream would come true on my first night in Auckland already? Shane had picked me up from the airport and after the obligatory jet lag passing out on his couch he took me to watch the Auckland Blues play against the Wellington Hurricanes at Eden Park Stadium. With 50.000 seats it is New Zealand’s largest stadium and although not all seats had been sold, the atmosphere was pretty spectacular to me. Just like all the weird things going on on the field.
Funniest thing for me is the so-called scrum (short for scrummage) where the players get together into a seemingly organised way of interlocking their heads, shoulders, arms and bums in order to fight for the ball (from what I’ve seen). Other stunning thing: It was so cold that night and the players seemed to have been so hot that their scrum turned into a giant steam party (see picture below).
Needless to say that for a stadium novice like me there was other exciting stuff going on as well, such as the guy selling donuts, a bunch of boys succeeding in getting a stadium wave started and the fact that referees in New Zealand have chosen to wear the very manly colour pink while they’re on the field. Overall, a stunning night at the stadium for me which wouldn’t have been possible without my fantastic friend Shane (and his outstanding patience in explaining rules & moves on the field).