Herald reporters Michael Dickison and Nicholas Jones went to the Wallabies v All Blacks match. Here is their verdict.


The bars in town were full and Queen St buzzed with fans dressed in All Black jerseys and face paint.

At Eden Park, stilt performers and a three-piece band entertained fans outside the stadium while inside, pop star Dane Rumble performed before kick-off and at halftime.


The enlarged stadium was close to a sellout with 55,000 spectators. The seats were a sea of black hats, scarves, coats and flags.

A message on the big screen read: "Eden Park has zero tolerance for bad behaviour. To report any incident, text 9666." But narks would have to pay 20c to send a name to authorities.

After the All Blacks established a comfortable lead, the crowd felt secure enough to start a Mexican wave. The Wallabies promptly scored.

Train 7/10: Passengers at Britomart were penned in at the bottom of the station's escalators.

When a train was ready, temporary barriers were removed and, like a dam breaking, people flowed into the carriages. Although slightly demeaning, it was a system that worked well.

Half an hour after arriving at Britomart, we unloaded at Kingsland station - not bad considering the 18,000 fans who needed to be transported by train.

After the match, temporary signs and dozens of yellow-vested officials directed people back to the train station.

The pen technique was again used and a train was filled in a matter of minutes before setting off and arriving at Britomart 20 minutes later.


However, delays meant the journey took up to an hour for some (see story below).

Bus 9/10: Special event buses lined Queen St outside the Civic Theatre. In just three minutes, a bus opened its doors, filled up with passengers and was away, another bus sliding in behind.

The bus drove through Dominion Rd without a hint of congestion, and took a bus lane down to New North Rd. In 10 minutes, the passengers were disembarking. "How good is this?" asked one.

Walk 5/10: The official Cup walking trail between the stadium and downtown was still bare, but after the match a big crowd walked up Bond St anyway.

It took 50 minutes from the bus stop at Kingsland to the bus drop-off point in Queen St.

Stands 9/10: Fans were greeted with the sight of the scaffolding of the temporary stands.

From Sandringham Rd the bright blue see-through structure was impressive. It was lit up and its sheer scale dwarfed the clutter at its base - temporary toilets, food stalls and entrances.

Rugby World Cup organisers say the area will look more polished by the time the tournament starts.

It was a long way up to the seats, and an old man was practically carried up on the arms of event staff.

The views were excellent and the stands hardly shook, even when fans stamped their feet.

An error meant the wrong gate was listed on some tickets, and there was a blockage at Entry D as hundreds of fans funnelled through the 10 or so automatic ticket scanners.

At one stage the queue extended about 50m back. However, it moved relatively quickly and it took only 10 minutes to get into the stadium.

Service 6/10: The large crowd gave the food and drink stalls in the new concourse their first real test, and they struggled at peak periods.

The layout of many had fans serving themselves food and drink from shelves and fridges at the back of the shop, and then paying and exiting through terminals at the entrance.