Friday, December 03, 2010

A Record Day – 27 November 2010

When we realised today was the All Black's test match against Wales, we decided this was one of those “101 things to do before we retire”. By checking online, we found a company who offered a day return bus trip to Cardiff, with tickets for the game.

We were not sure how it would work out, as the closer we got to the weekend, the more pessimistic the weather reports became. So we set out from London with plenty of extra warm clothing, and as predicted by the BBC weather report, we hit snow before we had got 50 miles from London. Fortunately it was not heavy like the north half of the country, and we made it safely to Wales. It was obvious that Cardiff had had a substantial snowfall the previous day, and although it was cold, the sun was making it reasonably pleasant.

“German” Christmas markets had invaded the town centre, which was great, as all the pubs, restaurants and cafes were chocka with queues out the door for some! So we enjoyed a takeaway duckburger with a mug of hot mulled wine, with the pleasant company of a local couple who had come to town for the game too.

The Millennium stadium is impressive, in fact, we read that the NZ coach thinks it the best stadium in the world. We went in to enjoy the pre-game singing, as the temperatures were dropping outside. Fortunately we didn't need all the warm clothing we'd brought, as the roof was closed for the game. No one seemed to know if the roof would be open or closed, as we were told this decision is made by the participating teams. We were glad they choose to close it, as it was still fairly cold even so, and we sat through the match wearing scarves, hats and gloves.

The game was great, even though the All Blacks didn't seem in best form for the first half. At one stage it got quite tense as it seemed we may not walk away the the records we were hoping to witness. But all was well, and Dan Carter broke the world record for the most points scored, and the All Blacks made their record of a 75% winning average, which is better than any team in any sporting discipline.

The amazingly lovely thing about a rugby game in the UK is the friendly rivalry between spectators of the opposing teams, unlike Football, where the stands are segregated with barriers and police are required to break up fights and keep opposing supporters separated outside the stadia to avoid violence.

The bus trip back also got rather tense towards the end, as our last train left the drop-off point at 11.51pm. Fortunately we made it with five minutes to spare. The alternative route home using three busses had very little appeal on a freezing cold winter's night!

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