However my arrival in Burke's Pass brought the realization that my host was no only drinking a DB draught (as I supped on a Speights) but he was also going to be supporting Canterbury.
That's fine I thought... then we stepped into The Tekapo just in time to see that the score was 3:Nil. Things started sliding from there.
Ok, so we got a try... but it didn't generate much of a fuss. The Canterbury guys know what we expect from them, and a try is very little to ask.
But when the Otago team replied. Well... the cheer that went up would have had Carlos Spensor sprinting for the Ladies! Couple that with the amount of brown ale that had been consumed, and the Otago supporters hopes and shoulders fair lifted.
Such talk! Enough to make a man blush!
And "that" about sums up the next 60 minutes of Rugby: Otago fans enjoying life, the rugby, and teasing their mates who had made the mistake of backing the R&Bs.
The ease of Swart's and Kelleher's tries simply made things worse.
Every turnover was another nail in the R&B supporters' coffin, as knowing smirks where passed across the room. It was the ultimate good Kiwi Bloke experience, complete understanding of the unspoken derision, and having to stand there stoically and take it.
Europeans would have been fighting tooth and nail. But this is after all what it means to be "civilised"!
The Otago supporter we had been talking to, from soon after we arrived, was somewhat kinder. He was not gentle in his comments, and he was clearly enjoying every moment! He just didn't see the point of rubbing it in... hard!
I will make mention of Mr. Kelvin Deaker, a brave man if every there was one. I can't remember much of his game except for a few rulings that mystified both camps, and some that awoke an unkind comparison to Colin Hawke - a la: how to rob a glorious Otago team of victory!!
Both final Canterbury tries were greeted with ravenous cheers, with just a hint of desperation. But the tide had turned and the boys were finally looking like they were going to win!
As our hopes changed, so did those of the Otago supporters. They took on the look of the long suffering, and long deprived. The same lack of overt arrogance that might have made a Canterbury loss bearable (just) at the Tekapo, also had us saying nice things about the Otago team. The sort of things that we wouldn't even say to a dying Auckland fan!
But then it was fairly easy to say good things about the Otago team. They had played extremely well, and yet they had lost! There was a special place for them in the heart of every Canterbury supporter on the premises.
For the record, there sounded like there were roughly 2/3rds support for Canterbury at the Tekapo, completely indistinguishable in the common uniform of Aertex shirts, moleskin trousers, Swandri jerseys and sensible leather shoes.
My host enjoyed the occasion so much that he announced that he would have to return to watch another game!
Maybe he has found his own "Cone Stadium"?
A true rugby supporter could wish for no more!