Herald reporter Jared Savage joins the Kiwi fans travelling from London to Cardiff for this morning's Rugby World Cup quarter-final between the All Blacks and France.
7.30am - Catch the bus from Hackney Rd to London Bridge. The only other people waiting are wearing Les Bleus jerseys. I can't help but think that's a bad omen. Great. Striking up a conversation, they're not travelling to Cardiff but to Essex for a paintball competition but will watch the match at a pub after. "What are you worried about?" they ask, "New Zealand will win easily." I laugh nervously and say something along the lines of "I've heard that before". They just grin.
10.45am - Catching the train from Paddington Station to Cardiff. The English like to queue and railway staff are trying to herd everyone in an orderly line behind metal fences. It's pandemonium with hundreds of New Zealand and French supporters are desperate to get there, despite more than 9 hours to kick-off, as well as all the Argentine and Irish fans going a day early. We get tipped off to the correct platform for the fast train by a friendly official before it's announced on the electronic board. We grab a seat just as the hordes are unleashed from the behind the barriers. Things are looking up.
11.30am - Overheard on the train: "New Zealand do not like playing us in the World Cup, we make them nervous." The man was wearing onions around his neck and a beret. There were a couple of guys dressed as Asterix and Obelix. Audible groans from the Irish when one announces that star first-five Johnny Sexton is ruled out.
Fan congregate in Cardiff
1pm - If points were awarded for the colour, creativity and sheer madness of rugby supporters, France would be well ahead on the scoreboard before the quarter-final even starts.
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A group wearing rooster hats who parked themselves in the middle of the road, drinking and smoking, singing "Allez les Bleus" at the top of their lungs. They stop for our photographer and simply roar at the camera. Every second moustache painted red, white and blue. Grown men flashing their undies with "French Kisser" stamped on their behinds.
There are at least eight Napoleans trying to invade the Kiwis bar.
In contrast, the All Black fans are dressed in black and boring. The best effort was a couple of guys wearing Beige Brigade kit and another carrying around a blow-up doll dressed as Will Genia.
It's a real festival atmosphere and "Chip Alley" is packed fans from all the quarter-finalist playing in Cardiff - New Zealand, France, Argentina, Ireland -, as well as Welsh supporters getting ready for their match against the Boks.
"We are NOT going lose," one Kiwi ex-pat living in Abu Dhabi told me confidently. Heard that one before.
3pm - Bags and media accreditation searched by security at Gate 5 of Millennium Stadium. They're uncertain about whether a depleted Wales side will beat South Africa. "We've already won our grand final. We beat England!" Fair call. Take a seat in the Media Centre which is clearly marked "Media Centre". Someone walks in behind me and loudly asks: "Is this the Media Centre?" What kind of pompous egg would ask such an obvious question in order to gain attention? The English scribes look up and greet him warmly. It's Sir Clive Woodward.
4pm - Kick-off between South Africa and Wales in Twickenham. The bars are full and security have closed the official Fan Zone a stone's throw from Millennium Stadium, leaving thousands milling around. There will be carnage on the streets regardless but the buoyant mood, which builds as Wales lead for most of the match, is deflated by a late try in the corner to Fourie du Preez. Now there are tears. The Boks win 23-19 and will meet the winner of New Zealand and France.
6pm - The entrée is over, now for the main course.