When Kiwis Fly – Murrayfield

England-based New Zealander Duncan Perkinson has penned a book on the success and failure of Kiwi sportspeople on the famous grounds of the UK. The New Zealand Times is featuring extracts from When Kiwis Fly: A Sports Tour of Great Britain in the lead-up to the All Blacks European test matches.

 
 

Murrayfield

THE All Blacks have played Scotland fifteen times at Edinburgh, and the best the men in blue have ever done is a 0-0 draw in 1964 and a 25 all draw in 1983.

The combined score of All Black matches against Scotland at Murrayfield (up until Rugby World Cup 2011) has been 380-120 or an average of 25-8. Whatever way you look at it, the All Blacks have generally been dominant at the home of Scottish rugby. It’s been a black-wash!

Two of those wins were World Cup matches – in 1999 the All Blacks won 30-18 in the quarterfinal and in 2007 New Zealand went to Murrayfield and won 40-0 in the group stage.

There is a very special sound at Murrayfield on test days. Traditional bagpipes, the crowd singing Flower of Scotland, and the roar of the crowd at kick-off.

In 1967, Colin Meads became only the second ever rugby player sent off during a test match (at that time). The All Blacks still won that day 14-3.

The 2005 All Blacks are considered one of the best All Black teams ever. Having swept past the Lions earlier in the year, and won the Tri-Nations, the All Blacks came to the Northern Hemisphere looking to be only the second New Zealand team to do the grand slam. A 29-10 victory over Scotland secured the grand slam and a place in All Black history.

Visitors to Murrayfield always remember the walk to and from the ground. Because the stadium is a mile from the train station and in a residential area, the crowd afterwards tend to walk as a large group and as the All Blacks have won, there is generally a happy mood.

All of the pubs, bars and restaurants go all out to make the weekend special for visitors to the city. The Royal Mile links Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Park and the bars and clubs on this stretch are world-renowned.

While traditionally a rugby venue, Murrayfield has hosted some high profile rugby league matches. The rugby league Challenge Cup finals in 2000 and 2002 were played here when the new Wembley Stadium was under construction. In 2000, Bradford beat Leeds 24-18 and Henry Paul was the man of the match. Two years later, Wigan beat St Helens 21-12.

The stadium has also hosted pop and rock concerts – everything from David Bowie and the Rolling Stones to Celine Dion and Katherine Jenkins – Highland Games and a visit from His Holiness the Pope.

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When Kiwis Fly: A Sports Tour of Great Britain is the first book to shine a spotlight on 140 leading UK sports venues and to profile the New Zealanders who have succeeded there.

When Kiwis Fly tells the stories of sporting dreams, hopes, disappointment and redemption. It is the story of New Zealand growing up as a nation in the sporting venues of Britain.

When Kiwis Fly covers traditional sporting venues such as Lord’s, Old Trafford and Wimbledon and some venues which many readers will not recognise – Pedestrianism at the Royal Agricultural Hall in the 1880s, Stone Skimming in Scotland and the west London concert venue where the Kray brothers boxed.

You can learn more about the Kiwis who are succeeding every week on the sports fields of Britain and purchase a signed copy of the book at www.whenkiwisfly.co.uk.

The Author: Duncan Perkinson is a New Zealand sports writer who moved to the UK in 2002. After originally living in London he now lives “up north” in Wirral, near Liverpool, part of the UK’s glorious ‘Golf Coast’. He is married to Jeanette, is a proud father of two — and his three favourite sporting venues are Anfield, Wimbledon and St Andrews.

 
 

 

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