He's been to four previous Rugby World Cups and reckons this will be his last.

Kaitaia identity Colin "Toss" Kitchen is accompanying five others to watch the quarter-finals, semifinals and final of the world's third largest sporting event, to be held in Japan, starting this Friday.

They are among a number of Northlanders who are flying, or have already flown, to the Land of the Rising Sun after years of planning and saving for the global showpiece.

Kitchen has been to the 1987, 2007, 2011 and 2015 RWCs and still could not get over the one "that got away".


"In 2007, when France beat us in the quarters, I remember we arrived on a Thursday and the match was played on Saturday. We did watch the semifinal but sold our final tickets and ended up holidaying and mourning the loss," he recalled.

"I still haven't got over it."

This time, he's going with two guys from Kaitaia, one from Whangārei and another from Auckland. They fly out for three weeks on October 17.

"We plan things early on and save ... you've got to be ahead of the ball. But this is probably my last one," Kitchen said.

Colin Kitchen reckons this will be his last Rugby World Cup after attending four other tournaments in the past. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Colin Kitchen reckons this will be his last Rugby World Cup after attending four other tournaments in the past. Photo / Peter de Graaf

His prediction: "I think we should be there or thereabouts. If not, we've had a good innings," he said, referring to the All Black's chances.

He said other rugby nations have caught up with the traditional heavyweights which made prediction difficult, unlike in the past.

Whangārei accounts manager Arriane Christie, her partner William Morunga and their friends Paul Brown and Keeley Lawson are leaving next week to watch three All Blacks' pool matches and maybe the quarter-final if they can lay their hands on tickets.

They are passionate rugby fans and are seen at all Taniwha matches during the Mitre 10 Cup at Semenoff Stadium, as well as away games they are able to attend.


"All three All Blacks' pool games are within 12 days in different cities which is great as it means we get to travel around the country and visit more cities," Christie said.

She and Morunga are spending between $35,000 and $40,000 and decided to attend a future RWC after volunteering at games in Whangārei and North Harbour during the 2011 event.

They went into three ballots to secure tickets through All Blacks' tours and all four missed out.

"When the tickets went for open sales, I got in the queue at 12.19am and got four tickets for about $300 each."

Kevin Sharrock, his wife, daughter, a couple of mates and their wives are also heading to Japan and will spend six weeks there.

They will watch the All Blacks v Italy match and two quarter-finals.

Hosts Japan and Russia play the first game after the tournament's opening ceremony on Friday night.

The ABs and Springboks tussle in a mouth-watering pool game the following day. The loser will meet the winner of Pool B, widely tipped to be Ireland, in the quarter-final.