New Zealand vs Tonga
Brisbane Friday 5.30pm
Fulltime NZ 91 Tonga 7
Halftime NZ 35 Tonga 0
The Black Army was out in force prior to kickoff. As I grabbed a quick bite in the city, an Aussie passed me saying " Shit, there are Kiwis everywhere today ".
At this point the sun was shining, and no clue given to what lay ahead weather wise. I took the shuttle bus from the city and chatted to 2 Highlander fans. Funny they had Aussie accents, and a closer inspection of their jersey confirmed Hylanders Rugby Club from Cairns.
Inside the stadium, after a few Aussie pies and Heineken's, everyone is waiting for the teams to appear. I again had the luxury of having two Wellington fans and another " Cantab " beside me. I took great pleasure in reminding him where the shield was now residing, the Super 12 title, and consoled the Wellingtonians that the NPC was soon to join it.
At last the anthems are sung and u'd swear we were back in Kiwiland. The crowd goes wild as Tonga start their Haka about 20 seconds after the AB's commence.
The action is fast and furious but the AB's mean business and soon Braid scores the opening try. A great conversion from MacDonald soon prompts the Cantab beside me into action. Soon other tries follow and Carlos takes the in front conversion, while MacDonald takes the harder ones from the corners. He really is superb as again I'm reminded all kickers are from Canterbury.
The Tongans are getting a little frustrated and Braid nearly loses his head on three occasions as they go to the break. Around this time a wee light shower begins and I swear I saw a flash on the roof line, but maybe it was a camera!
The 2nd half begins in steady rain. Thank god I'm under cover. The Allblacks look for early points and the tries soon come with MacDonalds deadly boot converting them from all angles. By now I think I need an ear plug to my right side.
The handling is pretty good, unless your name is So'oialo. You would think he would be used to the wind and rain by now. Above the roofline the lightning is becoming a worry, as is the thunder. I think I'm glad I don't have a brolly.
The scoreline mounts with every man and his dog getting there, ever smiling " Dougie " getting the last two and MacDonald again converts, to get a 100% on the nite.
A good performance by the boys to warm us fans as we make our way, through the storm, back to the city.
That concludes my on the spot reports. Suncorp is a brilliant stadium. The Atmosphere is fantastic and the Aussie fans were a good laugh afterwards too.