Dwyer: Frolicking through the town

The "Irish" lads: O'Connell (left) and O'Brien (right) caught up with "Tree'' in Meadsville but,...
The "Irish" lads: O'Connell (left) and O'Brien (right) caught up with "Tree'' in Meadsville but, sadly, dropped the ball.
Wow! What a fantastic opening at Rugby World Cup in Dunedin. The Poms and the Argies took their time turning up but they soon made up for it in spades.

The whole town warmed up on Friday night and exploded on Saturday. The town was packed from mid-morning until the "wee hours" of Sunday morning.

I've never seen Dunedin as full for a rugby fest and, remarkably, I think we coped pretty well. The stadium was a spectacular success with the dancing Argies and the singing Poms, it was a cacophony of sound and drama.

Oh, and I think the Poms won, but I'm not sure how.

The Argentine fans

They really did teach us how to behave. They danced before, during and after the game. I don't think they realised they lost!

Their numbers were inflated by masquerading students and townsfolk. A lot of the pseudo Argentinian students I spoke to were sick of the real fans coming up to them and speaking to them in a strange language. It's called Spanish!

The Argies certainly outmuscled the Poms in all the real events in the Octagon, tree and phallic symbol climbing, flag hoisting, detergent races, drinking and dancing. The Argies also had plenty of golden oldie rugby teams and there were at least 100 of them out at Shark Park over the weekend.

They came bearing gifts, jerseys, plaques, shields and framed photographs. The Dunedin boys replied with a couple of beer-stained ties - nice one, lads.

The nude rugby

Ralph's bottom-bus mob again were the media darlings of the weekend. I counted 16 official photographers, three television companies and a couple of radio stations. There was more media than crowd!

The Spanish chicks were surprisingly good at rugby and kept shedding clothes but somehow never got nude, much to the disappointment of the crowd. Their ring-in, Damian, a four-listener radio jock, wore a "man-kini", which will give me nightmares for some time. He would have been better off with a full body tattoo.

The Scottish fans

Was in Gumboot on Wednesday night and the place was knee-deep in kilts and bagpipes.

Met with a mob officially called "The Caledonian Tourists", who have been following big rugby tours for 30 years. Horace, Big Man, Bruce, Kenny, Spence and Stuart were all travelling in the same mini van with three sets of bagpipes.

Well, that's not totally correct, only five of them physically made the trip. Stuart died last year on a hill walk, so the boys took his jersey on this trip. I hope they made it home on Thursday morning because they couldn't remember where they parked the van.

I don't know how many times they blasted out Flower of Scotland on the pipes that night - it's lucky they are big men! One of the lads "jammed" in the Lone Star with a promising young rock band - memorable.

The Irish tourists

At great expense to the ODT, I've got two intrepid Irish supporters following their beloved team through the bowels of the North Island. Well, actually, they're from Dunedin but their names are O'Connell and O'Brien, that's all we could afford.

They haven't reported much so far but the Guinness consumption has gone up. They did catch up with "Tree" in Meadsville (Te Kuiti) and had a couple of Tuis (big bottles) around the kitchen table.

Meads did tell me they should have settled in for the afternoon, but their wives made them go and look at the Waitomo Caves - I mean, ask yourselves, where would you rather be?

Public transport

So Auckland fell apart on Friday night - there's a shock! The rest of New Zealand, to be perfectly frank, doesn't really care, we can run a perfectly good tournament without you. (But sort it out by the time I get there.)

Take a leaf out of Dunedin's book - don't have any transport then it can't let you down - walk!

It's not often I agree with Vandervis. In fact, I never do. But what is the $100,000 black phallic symbol all about? If we ever sort out ownership, perhaps we should melt it down and use it as fillings in the Molars on Portsmouth Dr.

The games

So everybody won that should have but not without a few quivers, especially from Poms and the Boks.

The two big games this weekend are the Aussies and the Irish and Wales and Samoa.

I hate to say it, the Aussies will win but they do struggle against the Irish. The Samoan boys will upset the coal miners and make the eight.

I see our team is dropping like flies, Muliana, Dagg, Carter, McCaw and Read out - are you feeling as nervous as me?

The Poms have sent Sheridan home and when will we see Moody? The Aussies have lost Ioane and the Boks locks are looking dodgy.

Will this tournament be won by the team with the least number of injuries?Remember guys, pick up some itinerant Poms this weekend and send me the photos and I'll put you in the big comp.

As for those two Argie boys (you know who you are), the roast lamb is still waiting!

paul.dwyer@alliedpress.co.nz

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