Kiwis celebrating the win – Chris Landon, me and Dana Johnston. Photo: Katherine Lowe
It all started with an impromptu haka. Chris Landon, Georgia Fowler, Dana Johnston and I took to the stage at 4:00am before a crowd of Kiwis and Australians at the Red Lion in Greenwich Village. Our fierce screams belied our collective anxiety – a New Zealand vs Australia match is always freaky, but a Rugby World Cup semi-final takes things to a whole ‘nother level. New Zealand’s had a rough 12 months with the economy, the mining disaster and the earthquake, and a loss at this point – on our own home turf – would have caused mass devastation. They say when the All Blacks lose, domestic violence rates rise 30% overnight. Thank God the boys pulled it off.
As soon as Cory Jane caught that first high ball we knew we were onto a good thing – Australia never had a chance. Highlights included Conrad Smith literally laughing after an Australian had slapped him in the face; Andrew Ellis (my former teammate – we played Canterbury Reps together as 10 year olds) coming on with 20 minutes to go, then leaving 30 seconds later with blood pouring from his nose; every time Piri Weepu picked up the ball (but not every time he kicked it); and that indescribable patriotic feeling when the final whistle blew.
ALL BLACK EVERYTHING!
Only one more game to go.
I LIKE YOU!