Thursday, 10 October – Early start to my holidays. Off we go to the Fainga’a Twins NBCF Charity Golf Day. It is wonderful what these boys do for raising funds to find a cure for a disease that touches us all in some way.
Ben Roberts-Smith VC was in attendance. Now that is one big man!!!!! Ant Fainga’a & Ben were responsible for entertaining us girls at the High Tea while others were occupied playing golf. I am fairly sure Ant got plenty of what he was looking for – kisses. Seriously, who would turn him down? And Colby Fainga’a looks very much like his brothers. Who am I kidding, all of them look alike.
Now, did we know girls that James Slipper has a patch of white hair in his left eye brow. I do now. After I tried to wipe it off. Sorry about that Slips, I honestly thought it was sun screen. (My story and I am sticking to it.)
Saia, Colby, Slips & the rest of the Wallaby boys – Liam Gill, Quade Cooper, James Horwill, Rob Simmons and Mikey Harris – did a great job in putting up with us ladies once they had finished their golf. Sitting down to lunch with a bunch of girls who had been on the champagne for a couple of hours I am sure could have, would have, should have been very daunting.
Saturday, 12 October – Day one of the Gold Coast 7’s. This is my first excursion to the 7’s since they were at Ballymore. Yep that is a while ago. And boy hasn’t the game changed!
After a draw against Scotland (what is it with Scotland?) the Aussie boys had wins over Argentina and Samoa to make their way into the Cup finals. And as an aside, I am fairly sure that a kiwi designed the jerseys. Why else would they have misspelt seven as seviin?
But let’s face it much of the fun of the 7’s is watching the crowd. There were pirates, navy men, super heroes, prison inmates, blind mice, the ever present Mexicans, more Wally’s then anyone would be able to lose, and a great many minions.
The beer snake made a couple of appearances with the second attempt reaching from the top to bottom (or was that bottom to top) of the southern stand. And the Canadian Club and vodka slushies were just the thing to have with the beautiful balmy weather.
Sunday, 13 October – Finals day, combined with sunburn and dehydration treatment day. Nothing that a few more beers and slushies didn’t cure.
The quarter final match against the Kenyans went the way of the Aussies. It is good to see the less ‘traditional’ rugby countries being competitive. In any form of the game.
The semi-final against South Africa was fought out to the end of two sets of extra time. This took its toll on the Aussies in the final against New Zealand, but they did manage to score more tries against the stand out team of the tournament than had been scored against them for the whole weekend to that point.
Dare I say though that the highlight of the day may have been the shirtless haka performed by the winners. Multiple times. Which was really hard to take. No, really, it was. But I was happy to take one for the team.
Friday, 18 October – After a few days recovery….. another early start for the airport to Dunedin. Bledisloe 3 here I come! After two flights, one delay, and an interesting taxi ride I need a beer. Pour me a Speights young man.
Oooooooo and I appear to be staying in the same hotel as the Wallabies. Damn shame that…
Saturday, 19 October – Game Day!
Since I had the morning to kill I figured a visit to Larnach Castle was in order. (See it is not all about rugby.) This was followed by a quick look at the Nude Blacks against an invitational Aussie side. Not sure what the results were. I had to depart before the final whistle had blown but I am guessing that grass burn was the number one injury complaint.
Why did I leave the naked rugby early? I had an invite to a pre-match function with Anthony Herbert as the guest speaker. You know him? He and his brother earned 78 caps for Australia. (His comment, not mine.) It was good to hear from someone from the amateur era and the mischief they may have got up to. Things have certainly changed with the advent of a professional sport.
From here we were taken to Forsyth Barr Stadium for the main event. This is the first visit I have had to Dunedin but I must say that the stadium is worth attending. The atmosphere was one of the best I have experienced. The noise was certainly something to behold. Evidenced by the fact that at times the Craig Joubert was finding himself hard to hear and hard of hearing.
The game was great. Even if the Wallabies didn’t win, they played well with passion, commitment and resolve. At least AAC didn’t have to pack into a scrum this week. He did however get to partake in a lineout and a maul. We will turn him into a forward yet.
After the game an Italian restaurant was nice enough to take us in for drinks and a feed. With the prospect of having to get up for a 9am departure the following morning I was to have an early night. Well 3am is early isn’t it?
I cannot comment on what may or may not have occurred after the witching hour, but thanks must go to the nice cabbie who gave me a discounted lift back to the hotel.
Sunday, 20 October – Errrrrrrr. Three flights and a three hour drive…. I am home…… Why do I put myself through this? Please don’t wake me for three days.