Some pundits *cough Stephen Jones *cough* have a history of winding up the Kiwis, insulting everything from hospitality to weather to their general attitude. But so far the welcome here has been amazing, and ne’re a grumpy kiwi in sight. Although a few eccentrics for sure, like the guy who runs up and down Baldwin St (steepest in the world) every day.
Everyone is interested in you, where you are from, and offering up tips on things to see and perhaps how your rugby team could perform better. Even the local bogans of Invercargill doing their “mainies” up and down the central drags of this southern city stop and chat and ask where all the Scottish girls are. Some of the conversations on Saturday night would never even have been attempted in Glasgow for fear of a stabbing!
There must be a lot of Scots living here though, as the locals spot the accent a mile off but don’t always assume you have come all the way round the world to watch rugby. Who else would be dressed like this on a Saturday night?
In this part of the world everyone has a friendly word for Scotland, but the hype for the All Blacks is beyond belief. You can’t go 5 metres without seeing a flag, a message of welcome to rugby fans or a home made “Go All Blacks” sign. Right now, this is rugby central even more than you would think credible. Local news is pretty much just rugby news. Everything that is newsworthy seems to relate to rugby anyway.
There is a great Scottish travelling support, and in a place this small it is easy to bump into folk you have seen in other places and get chatting.
And yes, it does look like Lord of The Rings.
In terms of the rugby so far Wales v South Africa was probably the pick of the games, Wales were very unlucky and played better than they have in a long time. Any Pacific Island No. 8s out there with grannies from Govan?
Referees seem to be going harder on the speed of breakdown work, trying to free up quick ball, which is to be applauded. So far, so good. Now for Georgia, and back to the terraces of Invercargill’s Rugby Ground.