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Friday, June 30, 2006

72. Los All Blacks (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

On Saturday I awoke to the sound of rain dripping. Somewhat rarely for BA, where it usually only rains 10 minutes or so at a time, the rain stayed all day and by early afternoon I was wondering if it would be worth heading across town to Velez Sarsfield stadium to watch the All Blacks play that afternoon. Firstly, because it wasn't really THE All Blacks playing but, what seemed on paper to be a second string side. Hell, the new captain wasn't even playing. Secondly, rain means slippery conditions which means dropped balls and slow backline play. Thirdly, I didn't want to get wet. And finally, Argentina were playing in the football World Cup at the same time.

But I put all these objections to one side and decided that hell, they've come all the way over here to play, I'm a Kiwi, I've never seen the ABs play live, so I have to go.

We arrived late, at 3:45pm, expecting the game to perhaps be already underway. However, everyone outside the ground was piling in to the clubrooms to watch Argentina play Mexico in the football. I asked a security guard - is there Rugby here today - Los All Blacks? He told me yes, at 8:30pm. So we were in fact 5 hours early. I'm sure it was due to start at 3:30pm but I guessed they changed the game time due to the Argentina football game, and I hadn't re-checked the game time. I was stoked - now we could watch the football game too!

Argentina scraped through in the football extra time to beat Mexico 2-1.

In the Rugby, the plan (as organised in part by the Embassy of NZ here in BA) was there was a rich Kiwi section ($150 pesos entry) that had a section reserved. The poor Kiwi section ($40 pesos entry) was to meet in the middle of the unnumbered seats an hour and a half before the game. I was there on time, but I didn't see any other NZ supporters in the poorer seats at all. When NZ scored their first penalty I stood up and whooped and waved my NZ scarf, and saw another guy waving about 30 rows behind me, but that was it. Unlike football crowds around the world, Rugby crowds aren't usually violent towards opposition supporters, and I was hoping that would be the case here. In any case, I wasn't being stupid and as such didn't boo Argentina nor celebrate too much when NZ scored.
Rugby - 01 - Anthem
Side by side for the national anthems


Despite all the hype and marketing that now surrounds it, there's still something overwhelming about the Haka. The Argentine supporters were great too, ssshing out booers and whistlers so we could all hear it. As well as making the hairs on the back of my neck stand, it actually bought a tear to my eye hearing it - I guess because I felt so proud of these 15 warriors in dressed in black surrounded by 20,000 or so Pumas supporters, so far from home. Although I sung both the Maori and English verses of the national anthem which came before the Haka, seeing the Haka bought out emotions I wasn't expecting.

Rugby - 02 - Haka
Laying down the challenge (click here to view video, 9Mb)

The crowd was great. The noise they made whenever NZ were kicking for goal, a shrilling cacophony of whistles, was intense (click here for video, 3.6Mb). Conversely, whenever Argentina was kicking for goal they'd shush everyone quiet and it was then the NZ supporters in the rich seats across the way could be heard whistling and blowing trumpets. In these moments, surrounded by Argentines in the poorer seats as I was, I kept quiet.
Rugby - 04 - Scrum
Midfield scrum. You can see the NZ supporters at the top

The game itself wasn't that spectacular. The drizzle didn't stop throughout, the Argentine forwards were strong, and the NZ backs had few chances. It got exciting in the last 5 minutes as Argentina went for the NZ line, but our defence just held out and NZ won 25-19.

Rugby - 05 - Final Score
Final score

This Friday Argentina play Germany in the quarter finals of the World Cup. While I'm hoping Argentina win, it'll be a tough game against an in form German team playing at home. The vocal (and numerous) Argentine supporters in Germany will probably be outnumbered, but certainly not drowned out.

Argentine futbol song #4:
Ole, ole ole, ole ole,ole, ola
Ole, ole ole, cada día te quiero mas
Ohhhh Argentina
Es un sentimiento
No puedo parar

Ole, ole ole, ole ole,ole, ola
Ole, ole ole, every day I love you more
Ohhhh Argentina
It's a feeling
I can't stop

1 Comments:

  • THEY LOST!! HAPPY DAY!!! Thank god Argentina lost!! Now maybe these ultra arrogant pr*cks will learn something about humility!! Aufwiedersehn!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:19 AM  

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