Tuesday 20 September 2011: A step back in time
Today was the day for Nelson to really join in the Rugby World Cup festivites and, despite there being a perfecctly good match on in town tonight (the first international ever to be hosted in Nelson) the match that grabbed my attention was the one played this afternoon in town......
Rugby officianados may know that the first rugby football match to be played in New Zealand was played here in Nelson in 1870. Unbeknown by the players and spectators of that very first game, it was to become a very significant step in the huge growth of Rugby in New Zealand. I doubt any of them would have ever have imagined the significance rugby has today in the psyche of most Kiwis.
So, the match I skipped school to go and watch was a re-enactment of that first match. People were encouraged to dress up and get into the spirit of the era and I love that in this shot, there are a good number of older members of our town who have done just that.
The 'uniforms' worn by the players were old style, made especially for the game. The rules of the match were as per the original game - rules that included 18 men a-side. The players played the match in great spirit with the 'tackles' being toned down so as to make it a fun and safe re-enactment. And a game the young bucks from Nelson College and many Old Boys of the College could enjoy together. Wonderful :)
The atmosphere was such a buzz and the energy evident all through town was carnival-like. Whilst I'm not going to the 'real' RWC match tonight (Italy v Russia) I'll be glued to it on my very 21st century TV. I don't think the atmosphere will be quite as good somehow!
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