Fan trail revived for tonight's match
Sat, 25 Aug 2012 6:11p.m.
By Alex Bourn
Auckland's World Cup Fan Trail has been revived for tonight's Bledisloe Cup match.
Fans are making the walk from downtown Auckland to Eden Park tonight.
Tonight’s Bledisloe Cup Test is the first time Australia has played the All Blacks at Eden Park since their defeat at the World Cup semi-final in October.
An expected crowd of 49,000 has been urged to bring back the World Cup atmosphere, with the revival of the successful walking fan trail from downtown Auckland to the stadium.
Two of the successes of the Rugby World Cup have been brought back for tonight’s Bledisloe Cup match: the fan trail and the giant screens at the Cloud in Auckland.
Hundreds more are expected to turn up to watch the game on the big screens.
It's hoped 3000 fans will walk the trail, which is lined with stilt walkers, jugglers, light installations, dancers and DJs.
It was one of the more popular and reliable modes of transport for fans during the Rugby World Cup.
Almost a year on, the famed fan trail was kick-started again, this time by one of our greatest All Black wingers, John Kirwan.
Auckland mayor Len Brown welcomed back the trail, which saw more than 130,000 fans travel to Eden Park for World Cup matches last year.
“If you walked the Fan Trail during RWC 2011, you will want to do it again,” says Mr Brown. “If you didn't, this is your chance to see why RWC 2011 fans couldn't get enough of it.”
Tonight's Bledisloe Cup Test will be the first time the All Blacks have played the Wallabies at Eden Park since their win at the world cup semi-final in October, and fans are hoping history will repeat itself.
But the fan-zone isn't the only highlight that has returned from the World Cup.
So too has controversial Wallaby first-five Quade Cooper's position as New Zealand's public enemy number one – the man All Blacks fans love to hate.
“I think he thrives off it,” says All Blacks winger Cory Jane. “He likes to put a little niggle in there but that's just his game.”
If all goes well tonight, the fan trail may be here to stay, becoming a staple feature of major events at Eden Park.
The route starts from Queen Elizabeth Square and can be walked in less than an hour, but fans have been encouraged to allow two hours to enjoy everything that's along the way.
The game will be screened live at Queens Wharf and it is free entry.
With the atmosphere already buzzing, it's sure to be a good night.
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