Eden Park – All Black Fortress

Written by leon. Posted in Rugby World Cup 2011

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Published on September 28, 2011 with No Comments

If you had a chance to have a look at the complete schedule for the World Cup you would’ve have noticed that the All Blacks aren’t taking any chances on where they will be playing their matches. They have made absolutely 100% sure that they play at their favorite venue, Eden Park in Auckland, as much as possible.

They’ve already played two of their pool games at the venue, the opener against Tonga and their big grudge match against France. They have opted to play the smaller teams in their pool, Japan and Cananda, at Westpac in Wellington. From the start of the knockout games however, every match except two of the quarter finals will be played at Eden Park. The other two will also be in Wellington. Its funny to notice that both the quarter finals that the All Black’s could have potentially ended up in will also be played at Eden Park. Both semi’s and the final will also be at Eden Park. Even the third place play-off will be at the venue.

You could argue that Eden Park is by far the biggest venue being used during the tournament with a capacity of 60 000 in comparison to Westpac coming in at 40 000. Financially it makes sense to host the biggest games and games involving the host nation at the biggest stadium. But surely this is a bit excessive. The All Blacks aren’t the Auckland Blues are they? Heck, I think the Blues play more at other stadiums than the All Blacks.

Of course there is another reason behind this madness. See, the All Blacks have managed a 24 game winning streak at Eden Park dating back over the entire professional era. The last time the All Blacks didn’t win a game at Eden Park was in 1994. (That year they lost to France and drew against South Africa.) The All Blacks have an immense record at home in general, but this truly is outstanding. For any team to go to the Auckland and get the win against the All Blacks is going to take an incredible effort. The All Blacks must surely feel invincible when they walk onto that turf.

Looks to me that the administrators of the NZRU didn’t only think of their pockets and ticket sales but also opted to buy some extra insurance. If the All Blacks are to choke again, they are going to have to do it at a stadium they haven’t lost a game in 17 years.

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