I am very tempted to turn up at Eden Park and buy a ticket for Australia v New Zealand off some local who foolishly believes he or she can sell their spare ticket for a fortune, and ends up offloading it on the cheap just before kick-off. But, I think I’ve had a good run, attending eight matches this world cup, and truthfully I’m happy to join Irish Terrence, George&Michael and to watch the match from the comfort of the very cool Garage on the Roof bar. Finally, finally, I’ve found a bar that is not only full of Kiwis but also one where there are more women than men present.
80 minutes and we are laughing, as today’s newspaper headline declared.
The All Blacks are far too good for the Aussies. Their 15, Dagg, is fantastic in the early exchanges as he runs rings around the Aussie defence. The atmosphere in the bar is class.
As the All Blacks seal victory the bar erupts. The lads return to Degree but there is no way I am leaving this party. This is by far the best bar I’ve been in during my time in NZ, and it also ends up being my favourite night out, with the possible exception of Dunedin after Argentina v England. I have to tear myself away from the party and my new friends to get back to the car park before it closes at 3.
Oh dear! The car park is locked up.
I return to Garage but my new friends have gone. I try to blag my way into the car park through the Crowne Plaza hotel, but have to leg it off down the street when they phone the security guard, wake him, and ask him to come and unlock the car park for me. I am contemplating kipping in Burger King but 6 hours is too long a stretch. As most of Auckland’s bars and clubs shut up for the evening and I’m starting to wonder what the hell I’m going to do for a bed, I manage to find a hostel with a ‘no show’. I slip the receptionist 20 quid and crash down in a dorm. Oh, how I miss the luxury and silence of the back of the van.