Party time for Kiwis

First published in Davey's World Cup diary

WHAT a party, what a parade! An estimated 250,000 people packed the streets of Auckland yesterday to celebrate their All Black heroes winning the World Cup after an agonisingly long wait.

Even the Auckland weather behaved itself with blue skies and the sun shining down on everyone, and how they all partied.

A giant inflatable rugby ball preceded a bevy of open top cars and wagons each containing three or four All Blacks and in between every kind of band played from brass to a Scottish pipe, a kiddie one, youngsters thrown up in the air and caught safely, it had the lot.

Many seasoned watchers who had seen English parades through London to celebrate their World Cup win and the Ashes triumph said they bore no resemblance to this one.

It was a party for the people, it went on for simply ages and arriving at the tail were skipper Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry holding the cup aloft to bring the proverbial house down.

Significantly, in the first vehicle were Steve Hansen – surely the next All Blacks coach with Henry retiring – alongside Dan Carter who was cruelly injured and taken out of the tournament in the group stages. A twin symbol of the future for New Zealand rugby for sure.

Clearly the whole operation must have taken weeks to plan which begs the question, what would have happened had the All Blacks lost the final? Doesn’t bear thinking about.

No-one could begrudge the All Blacks their success after proving the best team in the world year on year. And how they partied.

It’s Christchurch next, then Wellington as more parades are followed. It will be particularly poignant for the people of Christchurch whose city was devastated by the earthquake which also killed nearly 200 people last year.

In their memory and for their surviving relatives this World Cup was really special.

THERE’S no chance of Wales captain Sam Warburton joining his fellow back row forwards Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau at Rodney Parade, but that hasn’t stopped them trying.

My lighthearted suggestion that it might be a course to follow led to Warburton replying, "They’re always trying to get me there, but I’ve just signed a new three-year contract with the Blues, but I do get on really well with the Dragons boys."

In fact, he signed the new deal just before he was made Wales captain and sprung to prominence on a global level during the World Cup. So he’s missed out on an even bigger deal.

He did, however, reveal a bit of inside information about a couple of the Dragons boys which I’m sure they won’t mind sharing – Faletau is a demon snorer and Luke Charteris is the untidiest member of the squad!

And Warburton’s particular habit – he wouldn’t say.

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