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the flash gordons (there were 50 of them) were amazed at the real life superman policeman (almost 7 feet tall). i like the photo of the flash gordons getting some first aid and withdrawing some cash from the atm. i just didn’t expect flash to pull out a wallet to pay for his lunch…

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the photo below on the left is great on so many levels. a bunch of corporate stooges in a luxury box, not in costumes, with their backs to the pitch, watching the action on tv monitors.

i think the guys in the netball uniforms (a women’s basketball-like sport very popular in oceania) were my favourite.

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<click on the images below for mini movies>

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crouch, touch, pause, engage

tonight we went to our second rugby match this season to root for wellington hurricanes as they took on the waikato chiefs.

as part of our continuing effort to acclimate getting in the rugby spirit seemed to logical thing to do, so we are now season ticket holders to wellington rugby. this gets us quite a bit including tickets to all wellington hurricanes home games, all wellington lions home games, the all blacks test match against south africa, and most importantly – seats for next year’s sevens.

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the hurricanes are in the super 14 rugby league with teams from nz, australia and south africa. although most players on the hurricanes are from the wellington region player do move from team to team like in most us sports. the super 14 season runs february to may. the air new zealand cup (formally the national provincial championship) has 14 teams each representing an nz province. the air new zealand cup season immediately follows the super 14 season with most all nz super 14 players also playing for their local air new zealand cup team. the all blacks compete in the annual irb test matches (international competitions) and the every four years irb world cup (next world cup in nz in 2011). this complicates things further since the all blacks squad is composed of the best nz players who are all playing for their local air new zealand cup teams. so when the all blacks are practicing or competing, the air new zealand teams all lose their best players. this normally is ok with the fans as long as the all blacks are winning. when they don’t (they didn’t in the recent world cup) the air new zealand cup fans feel a bit ripped off. with the world cup disappointment still fresh, and the country still exhausted from the stress lead up to and during the world cup, attendance at the super 14 games is down quite a bit. a lot of talk of rugby fatigue.

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good for us the hurricanes won both this game (39 to 19) and our first home game against the queensland reds (23-18).

i think we understand the rules enough to enjoy the games, but for a sport that already has some odd language (tighthead prop, maul, ruck, etc.) they have added to the challenge but rolling out some experimental rules change for this season. let me know what you think of the new breakdown rules:

breakdown (tackle/post tackle)

  • players entering the breakdown area must do so through the gate
  • immediately the tackle occurs there are offside lines
  • the half back should not be touched unless he has his hands on the ball.


like so many things new zealand, the atmosphere at the games is very small town. middle school kids are the ball boys on the side lines. several of the photographers are not wearing shoes. cheerleaders are college girls with ads for the local bowling alley on their butt.

but we love it. we scooted in to town, parked a block from the stadium (free), got our fish & chips and 4 pack of tui’s ($20) from the concession stand and were in our seats in time for the warm ups.

captain hurricane is our mascot – and i’d like to point out that he won the mascot race held at this year’s sevens tournament.

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tui beer is one of the major sponsors of wellington rubgy. they target primarily sporting fans. perhaps the budweiser of nz. but this being nz they can get away with things that would likely cause a stir in the states. the tui girls is the best example. they make up the civil offense squad and are seen at the games and around town in their heels, miniskirts and toolbelts.

one of the running team gags is the hurricane force winds, so the tui girls bring around hair dryers that blow your hair back for a true hurricanes fan photo.

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1,2,3,4,5,6… 7

this weekend was the new zealand sevens.

at the simplest level it is an international rugby league with teams from 16 countries that play a series of 8 tournaments around the world. the format of the matches is radically different than traditional rugby with only 7 players on each side and a match composed of two 7 minute halves. the result is a very fast paced match that is decided in under 15 minutes. the next match starts just minutes later with 24 matches played during the first day. the second (and final) day begins the playoffs with 20 matches to ultimately determine the tournament winner.

new zealand has won the sevens championship 7 of the 8 years it has been running, and the nz tournament is hosted here in wellington.

the format would make it a great event but the wellington crowd has decide to improve on it a bit.

take the best halloween customs you’ve ever seen and mix it with mardi gras and you start to get a sense of the nz sevens.

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tickets are nearly impossible to get, but fortunately the celebration spills out of the stadium and into the city.

in keeping with the sevens theme tickets are sold in blocks of 7 and groups spend a ton of effort on the costumes.

during lunch on friday the cbd was packed with amazing outfits. on saturday the jboss and me walked around the city and had a great time.

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next year we’ll make sure somehow we have tickets.

added bonus, nz won the tournament in a close final against samoa