AMI Stadium (aka Lancaster Park or Jade Stadium) extended to cater for about 60,000 people (I think) for the 2011 Rugby World Cup was severely damaged in the Feburary 2011 earthquake and remains closed indefinitely until parts are demolished and its future is decided. Subsequently, the pool matches and quarter finals that were to be played in Christchurch were cancelled, and our local Crusaders rugby team (featuring many All Blacks) have not had a home ground to play on. They have travelled around the world as far as London to play their “home” matches.
The new AMI Christchurch Stadium in Addington was built in 100 days and holds about 14,000 people. We went to the official opening and the first game, and I had managed to book front row seats. The stadium was pretty impressive and very well organised; there were so many toilets there was never a queue! That’s an important feature when half time is only 10 minutes. We did though have a teething problem with catching the bus to the game. I don’t think the bus company expected so many people to take the bus instead of drive there.
The Cheetahs from Bloemfontein in South Africa took on the Crusaders. The Cheetahs warming up…
Olivia, all dressed up and ready to go:
A sea of red flags and supporters welcoming the Crusaders horses to their new home ground:
The first try of the evening right bang in front of me. In my desperate hurry to take a photo of the team on my phone, I managed to blur the photo, but who cares. Centre in the photo, to the right of No 16, is Dan Carter, one of rugby’s greatest fly-halves (you can google that).
The Crusaders won 28 to 21. It was a nail biting end and we won only in the last few minutes. After the girls got a few autographs and we made a dash for the departing bus, the trip home was smoother than on the way there. Here’s looking forward to another time.
PS: Apparently lots of people we know saw us on TV, even from as far away as Muscat in Oman. We didn’t notice till the camera was right in our faces. I hope we were looking suitably enthused.