Saturday, October 22, 2011
The build-up continues - 22/10/2011
As we sit at our laptop and listen to sound of the rain on the roof this morning, it's just under 39 hours until kick-off in the RWC2011 final between New Zealand and France; but who's counting. This is indeed a memorable moment for rugby in New Zealand, and for New Zealand as a whole. So we doubt that you'll be surprised to hear that most of our focus this weekend will be on things to do with the oval ball.
Australia won the bronze medal last night, but it wasn't a match that will linger long in the memory. Wales was flattered by the 21-18 scoreline, inflated by a converted try in injury time. Both teams tried hard, but one almost sensed that their hearts weren't quite in it. Still, more than 53,000 people trekked to Eden Park to watch the match.
And it was confirmed yesterday that RWC organisers achieved their target for ticket sales; that's great news given the current economic environment. Sure; the government underwrote a $39m deficit, but we understand that doesn't take into account GST revenue, and the GST on almost $270m of ticket sales is around $40m. Add to that the GST component of every beer, every hotdog and punnet of chips and every night's accomodation during RWC, plus the tax on the fuel for all those motor homes we've seen on the roads, and Bill English will be pleased with the additional tax revenue.
And lastly a photograph we've held back until late in RWC2011. Even in places where the RWC circus didn't pitch a tent, New Zealanders have embraced the tournament. The home below is in Carlton Avenue in Wanganui; on the main road through the city, and seen by anyone travelling through; we pass it by most days. It's been decorated like this since before the USA Eagles spent time preparing in the River City way back in early September; check this out:
Well done to the owners of this home, and the thousands of others who have taken the time to dress up their homes, their cars and themselves and get into the party spirit. Sure; there are still a few naysayers; that was always going to be the case. But the claims that New Zealand would be a "Stadium of Four Million" have been well and truly realised, and New Zealand has turned on far and away the best Rugby World Cup tournament yet.
47 games down; and just the one that matters remains; Go All Blacks!