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Jump For It.

Jump For It.

There is a world of difference between where we are now and where we left. Dunedin and Timaru were almost like home, the people knew us and we knew them.

There is a world of difference between where we are now and where we left. Dunedin and Timaru were almost like home, the people knew us and we knew them. Of course we didn’t, but that’s the way it felt. Auckland with it’s cosmopolitan air and the usual sophistication of a big city seems colder even though the temperatures are higher.

When we were in Carisbrook one night, Ron Palenski pointed out the new Murrayfield Corporate Stand, which rose majestically over where the scarfies’ stand (Terrace).

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That is called the Auckland Embassy. He said.
Now I understand what he meant.

The bars of Auckland were packed last night for the Korea/Italy game and the streets exploded into life just after 1.30am when the golden goal took Korea through to the quarter finals. Watching the extra time drama with Shaun Gilmore we were both reminded of the marvelous effort delivered by Mick McCarthy’s men and that if they’d just had a smidgeon of the luck the Koreans enjoyed..

We hear that 70,000 – 100,000 turned up in the Phoenix Park to welcome them home and fair play, they did the country proud.

Earlier in the day training was carried out at the regular spot, Teachers Eastern RFC which is also home to the Achilles Bridge Club. The ground is part of an expansive park that once was the land of the Ngati-Whatua Maori. They were moved up to the hill overlooking what is now Teachers Eastern RFC and dispute over ownership of the park is in arbitration

Later that night the entire squad adjourned to the nearby Angus Steakhouse for dinner where the meat was displayed and then cooked before us on an open fire.

More and even heavier rain on Wednesday puts an end to the proposed golf outing.

Wednesday is a day of total R&R and the trips on offer are sailng, sea aquarium visit or a visit to the Sky Tower. The Wallace brothers, Reggie Corrigan, Shane Byrne, Malcolm O’Kelly, Shaun Gilmore, Girvan Dempsey and the doc, Mick Griffin head for the harbour, Declan Kidney leads the group off on the Fish Called Wanda & Her Cousins’ excursion and the sky jockeys head for the top of the Sky Tower.

Alan Quinlan refuses point-blank to have anything to do with jumping off the Tower (it’s only 328 metres high for God’s sake) and bless him it’s gives your Editor the resolve to also refuse. But Tyrone Howe, Leo Cullen, Mike McGurn, Paul O’Connell, Peter Stringer, Ailbe McCormack, John Kelly, and Peter White are first up with Justin Bishop quickly roped in.

They’re suited-up in Star Trek type uniforms, then a harness and then brought up jump stand.

The elevator ride is scary enough but mother of god when we get to the jump zone..

Never mind you can see for miles, the only time any of us have been at this height is when we’ve been in a plane. And there was never a question then of jumping out.

John Kelly is first up and he walks out on the platform with all the enthusiasm of a man about to jump from a 328 metre building. He is being roared on by his teammates who have yet to summon the courage to approach the glass screen and look down.

Kelly is secured to the cage and walked to the edge. He really could do with a bit of sun on his face.
Thirty seconds jump call, the flight controller announces.

Then, Move him to jump position (edge)

And then John Kelly disappears.

Of course there is the, Eh Johno. If he doesn’t make it, you’ll be playing against the Blacks on Saturday.

Kelly’s descent is halted, two floors down, where there is a vewing level and then his downward journey continues at 60 kilometres per hour.

He is followed by Justin Bishop who dangles at the viewing level bouncing around like a rag doll, his impish grin not looking so impish, and then he too continues on his journey.

Tyrone Howe is next and myself and Michael Corcoran dash down to ground level (the escalator trip was frightening enough – for Corcoran that is), in time to see Ailbe McCormack arrive.

When you’ve seen one (or four jumpers), you’ve seen ’em all, so we leave.

Any chance that Quinny might have changed his mind disappeared following a conversation with a flight attendant’

What’d happen if that yoke there broke, like he asked, pointing at one of the guidelines, as Bishop plunged earthwards.

He’d die she replied and Quinlan turned green.