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I’ve arrived in Auckland, my base for the next two weeks as the Rugby World Cup reaches its knock-out stages.
It’s quarter-finals weekend here and the waterfront area around the official fanzone and Viaduct Basin is packed each night with supporters from England, France, Argentina and, of course, New Zealand.
Several well-known members of the travel retail community have hit Auckland or, to the south, Wellington, where the quarter-finals involving Ireland, Wales, South Africa and Australia are taking place today and tomorrow.
John Sutcliffe and his son Karl (below) have arrived in Wellington to support the Irish, and can be seen below mixing a touch of green with a splash of local red. The Irish-Wales game promises to be as mighty a singing contest as it will be a titanic rugby match.
At Auckland Airport, Manager Retail Paul Divers tells me there’s much excitement with many fans arriving for the quarter-finals and then the semis and final to follow here in Auckland. The airport company has done a marvellous job in dressing up the terminals in true World Cup style, as the photos below show.
For what it’s worth The Moodie Report is picking wins this weekend for England, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. But as previous World Cups have shown, anything can, and probably will, happen.
[Paul Divers and friend]