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Northern Travels

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Now that dust has settled for rugby in 2014 (in the southern hemisphere), time to scratch the surface in regards to how the end of season panned out.

After their northern tour which included a test against the USA, the AB’s would be comfortable with their results. After being pushed for a large part of each game against England, Scotland and Wales they came away with gritty wins. Superior fitness and a strong bench enabled them to over run their opponents in the last 20 or so minutes

Having been a spectator at each game with 75 avid All Black supporters with the Williment Travel Group I can say that all games were played in great atmospheres at Twickenham, Murrayfield and Millennium stadiums. Again, Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was hard to beat for total enjoyment and passion. With the World Cup coming up next year, hopefully the AB’s show the same resilience when it comes to the tight games that they will certainly have, and lift the Will Webb Ellis Trophy once again.

The Eagles game was an amazing experience, they really know how to put on a show. Before the game the “Tailgate” saw thousands of fans in the car parks around Soldier field enjoying a quiet beer and hotdog while soaking up the atmosphere. The game itself was not close as was largely expected but can American rugby build on this? I had the opportunity to talk to a few local players at the Tailgate, there commitment to the game we love cannot be questioned with travel that would mirror our NPC but having to cover the costs themselves. 61,000 fans say that something can grow out of this game but as is normally the case in this day and age it looks like money will be a deciding factor if this can happen.

It was also great to see ex OBU man Eric Fry running up against the All Blacks. I am sure this is something that he will always remember. He had a good game but was in a well beaten forward pack.

On the home front, the days are ticking over quickly before the start of Super Rugby. There will be much competition for places in the final squad that the AB selectors decide on. They have plenty of choices especially in the backs. Nonu to come back from injury, Carter to get plenty of game time, Jane & Kerr-Barlow also returning from injury – just to name a few that will give Shag and co a few headaches come selection time.

A Chicago watering hole which was worth a visit.

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