Having the vintage plane they were travelling in make a crash landing was a mere detour for nine blokes on their way to the international rugby sevens.
The hardy fans from Hamilton say not making it to the Wellington tournament was never considered - they had been planning the big weekend away for 11 months.
Their outing got off to a bad start when the former Air Force Devon aircraft they were flying to Wellington in was badly damaged when it made the crash landing at Ohakea Air Base near Palmerston North.
Pilot Paul Jones, a friend of the Hamilton fans, diverted to Ohakea because of low cloud yesterday morning and was expecting to make a routine landing, but the plane suddenly skidded and ended up sideways on the runway.
The undercarriage of the 60-year-old Devon collapsed, part of a wing was damaged and there was damage to the propellers.
None of the men were injured.
Their biggest concern appeared to be arranging replacement transport to get them to the tournament.
By the time they arrived at Wellington's Westpac Stadium the men were feeling relaxed after stopping in Levin for some beers to calm their frazzled nerves.
They also quickly discovered that being involved in an aviation near-disaster has an upside in the form of sideline seats for the rugby and free food and drink.
And of course adulation when their faces were flashed on the big screen and the tale of the crash landing told to the 35,000 strong crowd.
One of the men, real estate agent Ian Barnsdall, played down the incident. "We got a bit of a fright, but apart from that no one was hurt. It happened that quick that we didn't even really know it was happening."
The men, all clad in matching Waikato gear, plan to mark their ordeal by getting the words "I survived" printed on the back of the shirts.
Mr Jones was stuck at Ohakea while the plane he part-owns was examined, but hoped to make it to the rugby today.
Mr Jones, an experienced pilot with 600 flying hours under his belt on the old aircraft, said the crash landing happened without warning. He said the landing gear was down and there was nothing technically wrong.
Passenger Dave McGall said the plane was about 50m to 60m off the ground when "everything seemed to go wrong".
The Devon is one of 30 retired by the Air Force in 1980 and one of only four still flying on the civil register.
Defence public relations spokesman Squadron Leader Glenn Davis said flying operations at Ohakea were not affected and the Civil Aviation Authority will investigate the incident.
- Additional reporting: NZPA