Monday, February 7, 2011

The rugby sevens: letting it all out!

I have heard many words used to describe the rugby sevens tournament in Wellington: fun, debauchery, costumes, parties... Funnily enough, no one ever commented on the rugby! And so when a friend offered us tickets to the two day shindig, we jumped at the chance to see for ourselves what all the commotion was about. Turned out that an old and dear friend was coming to town that weekend and so we snatched a ticket for her to join us. This is how we found ourselves outfitted in green hornet and kato outfits with 16 other people cruising the streets of Wellington (and enjoying a game or two of rugby).

On Thursday, part of our team had their pic taken for the paper (Pete was quoted!). It was quite hilarious since we had only just decided to go that morning. Funny how quickly plans can change sometimes :D
Green hornets and katos in the Dominion Post
The tournament started on Friday but the day before, the town hosted a parade of the nations through its city streets. Each country was rolled through the streets throwing out candy and high fives to the cheering crowd. Everyone stepped out of their office buildings to cheer on their teams and get a glimpse of the sevens trophy.
The parade begins
Team Canada!
The Argentinian cheerleading squad
Tonga's cheerleading squad - the Tongan Ninjas
The town comes out to show their support
The giant Air NZ rugby ball (with candy tossing flight attendants)
By midday Friday, we were all gathered at a local pub, geared up for the walk over to the stadium. There we were clustered together amongst chickens, trolls, teenage mutant ninja turtles, and a bunch of really jolly santa clauses! The walk was more like a parade as the rest of the town came down to point, laugh, and cheer us on. En route to the stadium was a giant screen television next to a village of bars and we stopped to quench our thirst and catch the Canada – South Africa game. Canada got smoked. Ah well. It’s not like we lost a hockey game. Onward and upward!
The green hornets and their trusty sidekicks
Hats off to the Wellington police for putting up with all the craziness!
Crayons
National leapfrog champions (mid tumble)
The Jagermeister tent
Giant screen en route to the stadium where we stopped to have a drink and catch the Canada - South Africa game
The (not so) Jamaican bobsled team
The dude from the Hangover (baby in tow)
Pre game bevvie
Road trip to the sevens
Enjoying the festivities from their pirate ship
Galloping to the games
Natives on cell phones
Our walk took us past another series of bars where people were gathering and trying to get others to jump off the wharf and into the water. Poor Amanda got nabbed and everyone was cheering for her to jump. Luckily, she managed to free herself and escape. I wanted to help her out but feared that I too would be forced to take the plunge.
The crowd gathers at the Foxglove (a bar downtown). This is where they tried to convince Amanda that jumping in the water was a great idea! Fortunately for Amanda, they got tired of trying to convince her!
The crowd just kept growing
Costume First Aid station
Enjoying the view from their boat
Approaching the stadium
Oompa Loompas!!
When we arrived at the stadium, it was still pretty quiet (ie. most people had yet to arrive) so I actually got to sit and enjoy a couple of matches. The sevens are like a different sport altogether. With fewer players on the field, the ball moves much more quickly and the players along with it. They are only 7 minute halves and so the games are like speed rounds. Canada played in Pool D and played three other teams, losing two but beating France (which was amazing!)

Can't remember who was playing here
Half time show
Canada vs. France (Canada wins!)
Team Canada cheering zone
Canada supporters
More Canadian fans
Team Canada exits the stadium post final loss. Good on ya for representing, guys!
The end of day 1.
The Friday evening was a relatively calm one for us. We left the stadium before the end of the games and headed to a yummy Mexican resto to grab some food and chat. Having not seen Mandy in over 5 years, we were due for a good ol’ catch up. This also meant that our Saturday morning wasn’t spent nursing our bodies back to health. We were raring to go once again!

On Saturday afternoon, we joined the group again for a big group photo and another parade to the stadium. This time, the crowd was a bigger as it was officially the weekend and everyone was off work. On Saturday, we stayed until the very end to watch New Zealand take the cup! It was pretty amazing standing in the stadium while the crowd belted out “We Are the Champions” at the top of their lungs. At that moment I felt like a very proud kiwi!

Railroad crossing (flashing lights included)
Slash
Saturday Night Beaver
Camel jockey racers
The most revealing costume without revealing a single thing. Brilliant!
Dunno.
Trolls.
The crowd
video

Amanda and I in the thick of it.

 
Erinn having fun.
Mandy having fun!


Big Bird
The girls
Cheering on NZ!
Some katos posing for a pic (and forgetting that there's a rugby match going on!)
Enjoying the final match: New Zealand vs. England
The kiwi team receiving the cup!
video
The crowd sings "We Are the Champions" as the NZ team is handed the winning trophy!

Raising the cup to a cheering crowd!
The final haka of the evening
Post tournament, we headed back downtown where we explored the Wellington street party and danced the night away. What a weekend of fun, debauchery, costumes, parties... And the rugby was great too!
 
Leaving the stadium
Teenage mutant ninja turtle sharing the love
Dancing the night away
Wellington street party


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