There is so much rugby at the moment in my country of New Zealand that my human thought I had better say something about it. The 2011 Rugby World Cup started on the 9th of September with twenty teams (Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga, USA and Wales) and only eight teams made it through to the quarter finals, despite some interesting upsets like Australia versus Ireland where Ireland won!
There have been flags everywhere (mum now recognises each flag, especially the Tongan flag as the Tongan supporters really got into the spirit of things).
This is the weekend of the quarter finals - two games (Ireland vs Wales and South Africa vs Australia) being played at the Cake Tin in Wellington, and two games (England vs France and NZ vs Argentina) at Eden Park in Auckland, so yesterday afternoon (before the Ireland - Wales game my humans decided to venture into town to see what "Party Central" was like. "Party Central" is one of the areas around Auckland set up for fans to watch the games. Unfortunately they told me I had to stay at home, but I get to show you the pictures.
First they walked through the Viaduct area which is at the bottom of Auckland's Central Business District.
The bars around the Viaduct had started filing up,
Then they got to the ques on Quay Street to get into "Party Central" which is on a wharf behind the red gates. This is an area set up for before and after games for fans to get together. The road in front of the wharf is closed to traffic, and to get in they had to que for ages and then do a U-turn and go back beside the red gates on the left!
On Queen's Wharf there was space to move around, and this giant rugby ball which mum went inside. This inflatable ball has been by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, London, Tokyo and Sydney. There are videos projected inside (on the ceiling/walls) showing New Zealand, which mum really enjoyed.
New Zealand is known as "The Land of the Long White Cloud" so some designers decided to make this long white thing covered in white film.
Taste at the Cloud" for people to sample NZ food and wine. Mum liked the look of some of the food, especially the Rural food (see the link above) and wanted to try some and sample a variety of our NZ beverages, but dad prefered to go outside to watch the game and enjoy the RWC brand of beer which starts with an "H", so mum ended up outside drinking the RWC approved brand of wine in plastic cups (instead of a a nice selection of NZ wines poured into glass glasses inside The Cloud).
In the wind and you can see some of the flags...
There is also another huge rugby ball on one of the other Auckland wharfs behind them,
and at the end of Queen's wharf (where a band had been playing before) the start of the Ireland vs Wales game.
It was fun to see this side of the RWC, and Queen's Wharf is open every day while the Rugby World Cup is on until the wee small hours (so all the people who went to the Auckland game have somewhere to return to to party, and anyone not at the games can also enjoy the RWC atmosphere). There are other Fan Zones around Auckland, and also around NZ.
Yesterday Wales bet Ireland 22-10, and France bet England 19-12, so Wales and France will play a semi-final game in Auckland next weekend.
Tonight South Africa play Australia in Wellington, and NZ play Argentina in Auckland. The winners will play each other in Auckland next weekend, followed by the bronze final and final on the 21st and 23rd of October in Auckland.
Riley (the dog who has never heard so many people talking so much about rugby)
PS This is a photo off the The Cloud's website (see link to Queen's Wharf above) to show you what it is meant to look like at night.