Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wellington for the Rugby

We're in Wellington, on the North Island, where it's Ireland vs All-Blacks (that's rugby, for readers from the US) tonight at 7:30 local time. We don't have tickets of course (and even if we had, Nina and Sara would have spat the dummy at the prospect of being forced to watch the game from the windswept terraces), but we are living around the corner from the very lively Cuba Street, and will probably take this opportunity to go to the nearest Irish bar and watch the match on the big screen. That's assuming we don't get kicked out or deported for bringing minors to the pub.

In 100 years of playing the New Zealand team, Ireland has a perfect record. We've never beaten them. When Munster beat a visiting All-Black some time back in the 1950's, the euphoria was such that somebody wrote a play about it. But all is not well in the NZ camp. Eight months ago, they lost to Wales, and judging by the tone of sports commentators you'd think it happened yesterday. To Kiwis, rugby is more, much more, than a game. It is a symbol of national pride, and the very idea of losing is something that perhaps due to a lack of practise, they are not comfortable with.

If there is an upset tonight, then I suspect that any advantage my Oirish accent has given me up till now will vanish. I suspect I'm very safe though.

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