All Blacks kept up by celebrating Chicago Cubs fans

Julian Savea tried to sleep but couldn't. So in the end the All Blacks star got up to watch the Chicago Cubs make history.

With uncanny timing resulting in the All Blacks being in Chicago during the World Series baseball finals, Savea was one of number of players who couldn't resist switching on their hotel televisions in the Windy City as the gripping showdown between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians unfolded.

"I was sitting in bed thinking I was going to go to sleep but I needed to watch it," said Savea who like many of the All Blacks is a massive fan of American sports.

"Congratulations to the Cubs. It was an awesome achievement and something that team has not done in a very long time."

Savea admitted it was difficult to return to bed as Chicago fans celebrated the end of more than a century of misery as baseball's longest losers.

"I couldn't get to sleep afterwards because there was a lot 'cha-hooing' outside and beeping. So it took a while."

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The Cubs were a hot topic at the All Blacks' only all-in press conference in the Windy City earlier today.

Coach Steve Hansen was asked about the feat.

"We would like to congratulate the Chicago Cubs and all their fans on a great victory," he said. "A special night for them last night and a special game actually. To be able to win something after 108 years of trying is something special."

Hansen said he could appreciate the pressure the rival team managers were under.

"I listened to the Chicago coach saying that curses and such things aren't what makes sport. It is the process of getting across the line that makes it."

He said there was a lesson in that for the All Blacks as they prepare to take on Ireland at Soldier Field on Sunday morning New Zealand time.

Listen: Justin Marshall on the All Blacks-Ireland test

"I know this Irish side is a good team," said Hansen. "The last time we played them they should have won and they have only got better since then."

There's no escaping Cubs-mania in Chicago which will have the unfortunate by-product of pushing the All Blacks-Ireland test into media oblivion.

With a victory parade to come, Chicago is preparing for a huge party and the visiting rugby world champions will be the last thing on most people's minds.

Watch: Steve Hansen on the All Blacks side to face Ireland

Video

That won't affect the crowd for the weekend test, though.

It's already sold out with the majority of fans at the 61,500-seat venue being Irish expats living in Chicago and other areas of the United States.

- NZ Herald

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