There was the moment when Rieko Ioane, playing in the midfield, decided to announce he was back. It was early in the game and he set off on a curving, scything run, with clever steps and some brute strength, before offloading to wing Caleb Clarke, who completed the exercise, stepping, speeding and barging just as powerfully, before running clear to score one-handed under the posts.
We all sat up. Could it be? Dane Coles, the Hurricanes hooker, sat up too. He clearly hadn't been impressed by that bit of Ioane and Clarke pomp and was lurking on the wing, looking for retribution. He barely had to wait a minute. The ball came to him 40 metres out from the try line and as he started his run he looked across to see who was coming at him. It was Beauden Barrett, his old Hurricanes and All Blacks teammate, now with the Blues, playing at fullback.
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Coles kind of snorted, reached down and grabbed the gear stick, changed down a couple and floored it. Honestly, it was like you could see him do all that, the power and the speed he showed.
Barrett's supposed to be the fastest guy in every team he's in, so he got there in time, no worries, and barrelled into Coles about five metres out from the try line. Huh. Coles bounced him off and, presumably for the fun of it, did one of those swallow dives that wingers have perfected, everything off the ground, arm twisted slightly to place the ball sweetly in the corner.
Coles' teammates rushed in to share the joy, wrapping old mate Barrett up in the celebrations. Coles noogied him, his knuckles giving Beaudie's head a good going over.
Boy this was good. They had a cool brass band, including three trombones and a sousaphone – one of those tubas that wraps around the player's body – and they played the White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' as the Blues surged over for another try. By the end, they were accompanying the crowd in rugby' unofficial anthem, 'Sweet Caroline'.
It was a very good night for music. A formal karanga to welcome the teams on to the field. That was tremendous. Then they came out to the theme tune from 'Game of Thrones', and that was pretty tremendous too. The Hurricanes' co-captain, the mouthy bullet-headed TJ Perenara, is the Tyrion Lannister of New Zealand rugby: you just know he's gonna talk his way out of everything and even when you like him you don't know if you should trust him.
The ref sure didn't. Early in the second half, after enduring a long 45 minutes of Perenara lip, he told TJ he didn't want to hear from him any more, for the whole rest of the game.
But I'm the captain! said Perenara, possibly using slightly less polite language.
Don't care, said the ref, also possibly being a little more frank than that about his feelings.
Perenara had nothing on Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu, though. Paddy turned up with pink hair. Weirdly, it turned his normally gentle face into a mask of menace.
Half the Blues had dyed hair, or so it seemed to Sky commentator Tony Johnson, who kept talking about frosted tips and declared he could barely tell who was who. Frosted tips. It's rugby, but not as those long-haired louts Grizz Wyllie and Chris Laidlaw used to know it.
The rules ain't what they used to be, either. The first half was one long series of: Blues have the ball, rumble it upfield, get penalised, repeat. Almost all the penalties were about the same thing: what happens when someone gets tackled. My guess is coach Leon MacDonald spent halftime with a whiteboard, patiently explaining yet again what they're not allowed to do, because in the second half it was the Hurricanes who made all the mistakes. It cost them the game.
Otere Black, the first five Barrett couldn't dislodge, kicked everything from everywhere. He was superb.
What were they all doing wrong? Who would know? Who would care. The crowd was having fun, in that Auckland rugby fun way we have: thrilled by the tries but trying not to get too invested because, you know, Lucy and Charlie Brown syndrome.
For the record, Beauden Barrett didn't have a great game but he's not made of magic. He was good and he'll get better. For the record, the Blues made many silly mistakes but let's just say that only means they've got work-ons for training.
For the record, the Blues won: 30-20, and that flattered the Canes. It was convincing. All over the park Blues players were fast, determined, often clever and always focused on winning, even if that did mean they forgot to count how many players they had in the lineout.
Rugby! It was the same on Saturday in Dunedin: it's got really good! Eden Park was a sea of sky blue flags and there was a stretch, late in the afternoon, when the low sun got in under the roof of the south stand and drenched everyone sitting up there in the southeast corner with a gorgeous orange glow. Just lovely.
At halftime, some people came out wrapped in those big plastic bubbles and ran until they bumped into each other and fell over. They were like knights in the lists, thundering along, lances lowered, horses snorting to raise the fires of hell. Like that, only ridiculous.
I think it was a lockdown metaphor. The bubbles. Maybe bubbles will always be a metaphor now. Maybe the Blues will always win. They could. Honest, they really could.