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More Than A Little Wet in Auckland

More Than A Little Wet in Auckland


Thursday dawned, cold, wet and miserable with severe gale-force winds thunderstorms and more rain expected to lash the upper part of the North Island today and tomorrow. In Auckland they were expecting 75mm of rain to fall on the city with winds of up to 115 kilometres per hour. However, forecasters were predicting that things would settle by Saturday when there would be sunny spells and light showers. But it means that things will be soft underfoot when Ireland take on the Blacks.

Yesterday was the day off and the photographs in this morning’s New Zealand Herald showed a delighted Peter Stringer dangling from the top of the Sky Tower. 10 of the players made the jump led off by John Kelly and anchored by John Hayes who just about made the weight limit.

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But it’s back to business today. The side trained this morning in horrendous weather conditions at the Waitemata Rugby Club which produced that great All Black flanker Michael Jones.

Waitemata field 45 teams made up of, 32 amateur from under 8 to under 18, 12 senior sides from under 18 up and one womens side. They have 950 members, 80% of whom are Samoan.

It was a muddied collection of players who returned to the hotel at lunchtime and the intended visit to Eden Park scheduled for 5.30 pm was cancelled as the rain got heavier.

Yesterday we had a visit from Mike Mullins and his family and today there was an opportunity to meet famous All Black Joe Stanley who called into the team hotel. The hotel has another international staying overnight. New Zealand’s Silver Fern Cricket team who are about to set off on a tour of Europe that includes a visit to Ireland.

There was also a chance to catch up on old friends Mark and Tina Benton and their five year old son Zack.

People in Arklow, Dundalk and Suttonians will remember the Bentons with great fondness. Mark coached at each of those clubs and in fact held Zack’s christening in Dundalk rugby club on a beautifully summer evening some four years ago.

Back now with Tawa RFC, just north of Wellington, he was particularly anxious to send his best wishes to one of his great friends in Arklow, Cathal Louth, who is recovering from illness.