This weekend Kiwi and I hopped on the South Shore line and spent the day in Chicago. This time we were there for one particular event. To see the All Blacks play the American Eagles. The All Blacks haven’t played in the USA since 1980 and have only played the USA a handful of times. In the US rugby isn’t as popular but it is slowly making a comeback. There is a steady following and the 61,000 Soldier field stadium was a sell out. This marks some real progress in rugby over here and will support the grass-roots efforts happening. There was some interesting media build up to the game, I’m not sure USA quite knew what to expect, but hopefully this game will build some further momentum. The match was broadcast live and could be viewed worldwide, we were lucky enough to watch in the stadium. It was a pretty chilly day, it had snowed the day before! Yes snow in October! I dread to think what winter will be like.We hadn’t been to a match since last season at Gloucester where the stadium was a little smaller, and there weren’t anywhere near as many tries.
Supporters descended on Chicago in their thousands. Various people dressed up and were milling around waiting for the afternoon kick off. There was tailgating – which seemed to consist of standing around drinking really bad beer! The game was uninterrupted and aside from a marching band at half time and fireworks to open up the ceremony just focused on the match itself. Kiwi and I debated what the score might be, we never even considered that the All Blacks wouldn’t win, it was a question of by how much. Kiwi – who unsurprisingly is from New Zealand was sad that he couldn’t find his flag but thoroughly enjoyed singing his national anthem. The Haka of course was an excellent display and the first try came within three minutes of starting. The eagles put up a fight and at times looked strong. Sadly they were just outclassed. It was great seeing so many tries, and different kicking preparations for conversions. The crowd were on top form.
Final score: American Eagles 6 – All Blacks 74.