Highlanders v Blues
Carisbrook (ďHouse of PainĒ)
Ref: Steve Walsh
Highlanders 14 lost to Blues 30
Happened to be in Dunedin for the opening match of the Super 12, it might have been a subconscious move so that I didnít have to see the Reds efforts. But I was surprised how easy it was to get good tickets (on the 22) for the match in what I assumed was a rugby mad city (decided not to go to the terraces as I was with the better half).
Managed to get to the game alive after parking in south Dunedin and the car was still there after the match as well. Once I get to the famous ďHouse of PainĒ I head for the carport that sells the beer and after spending a fair amount of time at Aussie stadiums a few things shocked me.
- The beer isnít stored in a fridge (but then again its colder outside the fridge);
- itís in cans. Beer hasnít been sold in cans in Brisbane since the infamous incident at Lang Park during a State of Origin where the NSW players and ref got pelted with beer cans. You could argue thatís itís a waste of beer but the ref deserved it.
- the cans only hold 330 and not 375 ml of precious liquid;
- It only costs $3 for a beer and not $4.80 as it does at Ballymore;
- you can buy six packs, 12 packs and 18 packs at the ground. Nothing like a sensible drinking culture is there;
- Beer flavours are available for children in the Speights Old Malt ice-cream, nothing like indoctorating the youngins early is there. Not bad by the way; and
- SPEIGHTS = H GET PISS, yet another sign that you are all alcoholics.
However, once I saw the terraces I saw why the beer is sold in bulk as they sort of cater for the university students as without them Otago rugby would be a financial basket case.
Anyway I witnessed the Carisbrook karaoke efforts of the students to the Village Peopleís YMCA. All obvious comments will not be entered into. While the game was constantly being plugged as Anton Oliverís game (100 Super 12 caps). With former Highlanders players were then paraded around the park in his honour. I was surprised to see Tony Brown didnít head north for a pension fund.
The only thing I didnít work out while I was at the game is the bloody mascot. Whatís there story there? What the hell has a black pussy cat got to do with the joker walking sound in a skirt and waving a pig sticker? Not enough sheep? Although in my travels I did find out that bloke in Whikato with the chainsaw is called possum.
As I was too cheep to buy a program I was very disappointed to see Steve Walsh run out onto the ground but remembered that I had beer cans. By god didnít he need a couple of cans chucked at him? The blatant holding back of Paul Miller by Ali Williams opened up the blind side for the first try of the night. Williams should have been sinned binned on a couple of occasions for his impressions of the Ďplanksí off the ball incidents. I just didnít want to waste the beer but I could have hit him from where I sat.
Did think I was watching the Crusaders play the Blues there a bit with both McIntyre and Blair playing. I see Blair still has the jitters from last yearís final and his kicking in general play was abysmal with the constant striking of the ball of the side of the boot. His goal kicking was alright but not as good as that Blues centre who does a little dance on the way to kick the ball.
Although it was Antonís game he must have had stage fright. He was chucking bricks into the lineouts and he couldnít hold onto the ball in general play.
The poor lineout execution combined with the poor kicking options enabled the rusty dorklanders to stay in the game until they started to click. The substitution at half back was the spark the Highlanders needed within seconds Danny Lee scored and the backline began to fire the increased speed of delivery enabled McIntyre more room and space and his creativity opened up a lot of holes in the Blues backline that if he could have linked with that OC better earlier might have been the difference in the game.
All I can say about the Reds efforts this year, its lucky Ballymore doesnít sell beer in cans on the hill anymore.