Rugby World Cup had me thinking-travel for sporting occasions

Enjoying the ABs v France game in Paris, 2004

With the Rugby World Cup currently heading into semi final weekend right here in Aotearoa, New Zealand it seems timely that I discuss a common reason for travel and that’s to head away for a sporting occasion.

My experience with travelling for sporting reasons has predominately been for rugby.  During my younger years I went on several trips within New Zealand for netball and rugby tournaments.  But being a huge rugby and All Blacks fan, it was inevitable that I would make a trip to support them whenever I could.

Christchurch is my closest town, 30 minutes from where I live and seeing the All Blacks play there is always a grand event.  However, travelling around the UK and Europe for a Grand Slam tour is number 1 on my sporting trip bucket list, attending an Olympic Games a close 2nd!

A Grand Slam tour is one in which a touring national team from New ZealandSouth Africa or Australia plays Test matches against the four Home Nations of theBritish IslesEnglandWalesIreland, and Scotland. If the tourists win all four games, they are said to have achieved a grand slam.  Wins against all four Home Nations in the same tour have been achieved South Africa (4 times), New Zealand (4) and Australia (1).

I came close once, when I was living in London in 2004, my Dad came over and some of my friends joined us and we travelled to Rome, Cardiff, Paris and London for the ABs games v Italy, Wales, France and the Barbarians.

By far the best match was against Wales for several reasons.  Wales are as crazy about rugby as Kiwi’s are and for that reason the banter and analysing of the game with the locals was top notch!  Millenium Stadium is a must see, with the singing and cheering at an all time deafening roar due to the covered top.  Even better is the short stroll to the numerous pubs and clubs, over flowing with beer, people and rugby tales.  But what truly made the experience in 2004 was that the All Blacks only won by 1 point, 26-25!  The game was nail biting and the atmosphere electric. What made me a Welsh fan for life was that even though they lost, every Welshman that we spoke to after the game was so pleased to come so close and such fans of the All Blacks, that they would buy us a beer and sit and talk rugby with us anyway.  Does it get any better?

Dad, Fraser, Chris Jack, Rueben Thorne and me in Paris, 2004

Dad, my flatmate Jo and I enjoying the Cardiff pub scene after the Wales v ABs game

Richie McCaw and me hanging out, 2004

Well maybe it does, having a chat with Richie wasn’t too bad either!

For the record-I’m picking a Wales v All Blacks World Cup final next weekend?  How about you?  I would love to hear where you have travelled to for a sporting event as well. Please feel free to comment!


7 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup had me thinking-travel for sporting occasions

  1. DK says:

    Great to hear your story – was a great game that one and remember watching it (although at the time I was living in England). The Millenium Stadium is a fantastic venue – the best I’ve been in (and I’m trying my hardest not to be biased there)… loving your predictions for the final as well 😉

  2. LOLOL – you name dropper you… Richie M and I hanging out… good one!!!! Well, so you know, Jane’s Dad and Richie share the same birthday… so we are connected too…. in a sort of way!!!!
    Ah, bTW, have you seen the latest Tui ad???? Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – oui, oui, oui!!!! YEAH RIGHT hahahahahha

  3. Jane Thwaites says:

    Isnt it great to reminise about all the fantastic events we have been able to go to. Its was great to read your blog Tarm in fact it made me think about attending Wimbledon with you and Chris. It was great to be there with great friends who strongly live by the saying “if you don’t ask you dont get” We got to see some fantastic games and enjoy the atmosphere for only a standard entrance fee. Cant wait to read more!
    GO THE ALL BLACKS !!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Naketa says:

    All I can say is “Go the All Blacks”. Have you seen the new Mr. Vintage tshirt?

  5. Love the detail here, Tamara – you’ve made it come alive for me. Ad next weekend’s going to be the biggest, eh? How far will you travel for the big game? I might make it from the kitchen to the sofa;-)

  6. Tania Coutts says:

    OH SO Jealous of the ‘Richie and Me’ shot! Totally agree, travelling for sport is a must for NZ’ers. I was lucky enough to go to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and see a good friend, Sam Warriner, win Silver in the TRI! AND watch our Rugby 7’s too! Have just spent 9 days in Australia and WOW the atmosphere watching rugby in the bars was amazing! Various games, and people from so many countries cheering their team on and enjoying the ‘hassling’ of each other. Luckily I was home on time to watch our awesome game last night BUT wish I was in Australia this morning to wear my NZ colours with pride:-)

    • Whare says:

      Tumeke Tamara so relieved and proud after a great 6 weeks and a great final. Had attended both semis and was so disappointed that Wales missed out on the final but sure they will become a great team like those of the 70s.

      Great story as I remember the close score in ’04 against Wales but what a time you guys must have had in the great Millenium Stadium.

      Me thinks we must get ourselves organised to travel to UK in 2015 … maybe we can attend a Ed Conference during World Cup time! Supporting the ABz defend the title would be cool!

      Let us add this to the Team Māori agenda


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