Rai Val­ley kids pumped for ABs test

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - BACKYARD BANTER - MATT BROWN

When asked who the All Blacks were play­ing, the kids knew the team started with the letter ‘a’. Not Alaska, nor Asia, although those op­tions were put for­ward.

They knew that Ar­gentina was ‘some­where’, and were fairly con­fi­dent they knew the rules of the game. How­ever, there was one thing that young Stella Mant was con­fi­dent in, ‘‘I know the All Blacks are go­ing to win!’’

‘Re­ally, re­ally ex­cited’ de­scribes the Rai Val­ley school stu­dent who will be watch­ing her first live All Blacks rugby game in Nel­son this Septem­ber.

Stella said her mum snapped up the tick­ets for the game as soon as they were re­leased and will be watch­ing ‘in the stands some­where’.

The Rai Val­ley school pupils al­most took the roof off the usu­ally quiet li­brary when deputy prin­ci­pal Mike Wil­son told the kids to ‘cheer like you were at the game!’

‘‘We al­ways watch the All Blacks on TV,’’ she said.

‘‘We do the haka with them. Dad al­ways videos us do­ing it,’’ Stella said.

The game will be Trafal­gar Park’s first ever All Black test match, beat­ing out Hamil­ton and Christchurch for the hon­our.,.

Com­mer­cial & Mar­ket­ing Man­ager for the Tas­man Rugby Union Les Ed­wards said that tick­ets are mov­ing very quickly. ‘‘There’s a buzz in town.’’ ‘‘There are tick­ets left in the north stand and that’s it.’’

The 7000 seat sta­dium will bring in 14,000 tem­po­rary seats for the event, bring­ing the sta­dium’s ca­pac­ity to 22,000.

‘‘The sta­dium is be­ing built as we speak,’’ Ed­wards said.

The event is es­ti­mated to bring $9 mil­lion into the re­gion.

‘‘We’ve been work­ing very hard for the last six months sell­ing a bun­dled Mako sea­son and All Blacks tick­ets,’’ Ed­wards said. ‘‘That’s our legacy, build­ing a strong sea­son base.’’

‘‘There are a lot of Blen­heim peo­ple coming over.’’

There are two Mako games sched­uled in Blen­heim be­fore the All Black test match, against Can­ter­bury and South­land.

‘‘That will al­low the work to con­tinue at Trafal­gar Park,’’ Ed­wards said.

PHOTO: RICKY WIL­SON/STUFF

Les Ed­wards - Tas­man Rugby Union Rugby mad Rai Val­ley school stu­dents are be­hind the All Blacks 100 per cent.

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