Auckland base all too eerily familiar
Published 15/09/2011 | 05:00
Ireland's base in the Mount Wellington suburb of Auckland has drawn comparisons with their Bordeaux encampment in 2007.
The hotel's 13km remove from the city centre, its industrial surroundings and the adjoining lake are all eerily familiar and there are no cafes, restaurants, bars or shops nearby where players can kill some down time.
Well, that's not strictly true. If they were to walk for 15 minutes along the dual carriageway they will come to a large supermarket appropriately called Countdown.
A vast barn of a place, once you have perused the pick'n'mix and sampled a reasonable sausage roll, there is not a whole lot to detain you -- least of all the Countdown motto, which reads: "Creativity with integrity, nothing else will do."
Nothing else to do, more like, but the squad seem in good spirits nonetheless and at least this time it's only for a few days.
GUIDE TO NEW ZEALAND
Alcoholic ginger beer... who knew? You can get it on tap here and it tastes fantastic. If Willy Wonka had been a lush, he would have been proud of this sweet, crisp and fizzy formula, while Enid Blyton could have used it to spice up her adventure stories. Less successful is the 'Up & Go' breakfast drink, which comes in a carton promising the taste of 'Weet-Bix and milk'. In a word? Rank.
"What do you do with all your hats?" -- An unexpected query from a stray American at yesterday's team announcement.
"You mean caps? We don't get a cap for every game, unfortunately, that would be a lot." -- The courteous reply from 114-times capped Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll.
"Someone should tell boof-heads to pull their heads in... it might just bite him on the arse." -- Australian World Cup-winning captain Nick Farr-Jones is unimpressed with Quade Cooper's All Blacks baiting ('boof-head' is slang for a stupid person).
9 The number of Leinster players in the Irish team to face Australia. Munster have three, Ulster two and Ospreys one.
Pool A: New Zealand v Japan,
Live, UTV/Setanta Ireland, 9.0