There’s two main rugby leagues that involve New Zealand. Super 15 rugby is union rugby, which has a distinct style and different set of rules than rugby league. Field position is key, and there’s a lot of kicking of the rugby ball.
The Auckland team, known as the Blues, is loaded with World Cup players, but the team has been devastated by injuries and depleted by suspensions.
The other league is known as the National Rugby League. They play league rugby, which is more like football and slightly more fast-paced. I prefer it even though games are at weird times since teams come from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Lastly, there’s the national team — the All-Backs — which scrimmage late in the year.
Anyway, I was pretty disappointed in how little cheering there was at the Blues game. Some of the fans knew their team sucked and pretty much showed up at the stadium dejected. Not even free giant flags were enough to cheer them up. One lady sitting next to me even cheered for the Hurricanes when they made great plays. It was similar to going to a mid-week Padres’ game. About 20,000 people only cheering when big things happen. There’s a lot more gasping than most other sports as spectators brace for big hits. The atmosphere at Eden Park was definitely more subdued than at most American football stadiums, which are often packed with 70,000 people or more.