Rugby’s greatest challenge

by Andy Bryenton

September heralds the beginning of the greatest struggle in Kiwi sports; well, at least for the moment. In the future, we will no doubt be enthralled by future America’s Cups and cricket tests, but for now, the eyes of the nation are on the oval ball for the Rugby World Cup.

Our valiant All Blacks waste no time in starting their defence, facing South Africa in Yokohama, Japan on September 21. It means that there’s only limited time remaining for rugby fans to get themselves prepared and ready for the big viewing parties that will bring friends and neighbours together at odd hours all over New Zealand. The checklist is simple. You’ll need a suitable 4k high definition television, plumbed into Spark’s fibre network to catch all 48 games in the best of crisp detail and colour. All of the All Blacks games will be broadcast free to air via the internet as well.

Some will be delayed, but semis and final matches have been promised live and direct. The essential factor is a fast broadband connection and a modern television with the sound and visual capabilities to immerse you and your mates in the action.

Then there’s refreshments for the team. A well-stocked fridge and some snacks are par for the course, but for the discerning host, a full barbecue is not out of the question. Japan, host of the tourney, provides inspiration to give such meals a twist — teriyaki marinated steaks, chicken yakitori skewers, deep-fried okonomiyaki with prawns and more. Remember, too, that it’s hard to be an armchair ref without a good armchair. If your seating needs an upgrade, you can even find recliners with drink chillers and remote chargers in the armrests!

Then again, the other great way to enjoy the cup is to head down to the pub to take it all in with the crowd. Inns and hotels across the nation will be open late (or early) to show all the action thanks to a law passed through parliament just to help us party! That’s the kind of party politics we can all get behind, so consider getting your black and whites on, hitting the sports bar and enjoying the atmosphere as New Zealand chase champion status once again.