The red fans came, saw and loved it

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

Kiwi hos­pi­tal­ity is part and par­cel of rugby cul­ture, just ask the John­sonville Rugby Foot­ball Club.

The Welling­ton club’s mem­bers have opened their doors to trav­el­ling Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions’ sup­port­ers and al­lowed them a park­ing space for their camper­vans.

With the sec­ond test match due to be played on Satur­day in Welling­ton, some red-clothed rugby fans have al­ready taken up the of­fer and made the club’s carpark and its fa­cil­i­ties their tem­po­rary home.

There were about 30 Lions fans in the club­house watch­ing the Hurricanes play to a 31-31 draw against the Lions in Welling­ton on Tues­day.

The vis­i­tors kept John­sonville mem­ber Mike Segetin busy be­hind the bar as sup­port­ers of both teams watched.

‘‘This is what we do, this is nat­u­ral.

‘‘There is noth­ing dif­fer­ent about whether peo­ple here are Poneke rugby sup­port­ers or Lions sup­port­ers. They are peo­ple who are happy to have a beer, a feed and talk rub­bish. Just so hap­pens some are here a lit­tle longer than most of our pa­trons.

‘‘And the way it’s go­ing, we’ll have close to 40 camper­vans come Satur­day.’’

Most of the club’s tem­po­rary res­i­dents came upon the chance ac­com­mo­da­tion when they met John­sonville mem­bers at other Lions games.

‘‘A bus load of our mem­bers went away to the Maori and the Chief’s games and ran into some of them up in Hamil­ton and Ro­torua. They told them they would be wel­come at the John­sonville rugby club.

‘‘So, we’ve got a bit of fun ri­valry be­tween the lo­cals and the tourists. We give them a bit of stick and it makes them feel at home.’’

For Welsh­men Si­mon John­son, his dad Phil, Antony Sadd, and Gareth Ed­wards, the hos- pital­ity is the ic­ing on the cake for their road trip.

‘‘Si­mon is search­ing for places and finds John­sonville RFC, which is great be­cause me and my boy are John­sons. We bought some of their rugby jer­seys, which will go back to our club at home.

‘‘Ev­ery­where we go, ev­ery per­son we’ve met have been in­cred­i­bly friendly - toot­ing at our Welsh flag. We’ve thor­oughly en­joyed our trip.’’

‘‘It makes you proud as as a Kiwi when you hear the tourists say how amaz­ing Kiwi hos­pi­tal­ity is. Not just here but ev­ery­where,’’ Segetin said.

‘‘A lot peo­ple on the road want to spend time with lo­cals, not with other Poms be­cause they can do that at home.

‘‘These peo­ple wanted to come to a New Zealand rugby club and meet rugby-lov­ing New Zealan­ders, and you won’t find more rugby-mad Ki­wis than us.’’

PHOTO: JAMES PAUL/ FAIR­FAX NZ

John­sonville Rugby Foot­ball Club’s Mike Segetin (cen­tre) shows Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions’ sup­port­ers the mean­ing of Kiwi hos­pi­tal­ity.

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