|Volunteers at the giant rugby ball cinema|
|Volunteers outside The Cloud|
My shifts have been between five and nine hours long, some during the day and some right up until midnight. For the most part our role is to meet and greet people and to provide any information about the tournament, or Auckland/New Zealand, requested. The fun part has been meeting people from all over the world. I have been astonished by the number of people who have travelled from places such as Georgia and Romania to follow their teams, however, there have been people from every country in the competition. They all came with the intention of having a great time and their positive attitude has been a joy. On game days the fanzone has been awash with good natured team supporters in their national colours and costumes waving flags and chanting. I have met many very interesting people, including a group of English parliamentarians here to play rugby against a team of New Zealand parliamentarians. They were real gentlemen and good to chat with. The most popular fans of all, though, have been the Irish.
|With a vibrant and joyful Township band from South Africa......|
|.......and Irish and Australian supporters..........|
|....and let's not forget our own enthusiastic if colourless fans.|
|Enjoying meeting the French rugby team.|
Two of my shifts have been spent standing in pretty steady rain....and, surprisingly, I have still enjoyed them. One shift was at Eden Park lapping up the atmosphere and another I spent along the Fan Trail. The Fan Trail has been a particular success of this tournament. In order to free up public transport it was decided to encourage people to walk the four and a half kilometres from downtown Auckland to Eden Park. To make it interesting there are all sorts of activities, buskers, art works and refreshment spots along the way. Fans, people going to the games and just Aucklanders generally have embraced the Fan Trail with enthusiasm, so much so that thousands walk it every time there is a game on simply to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
|On the fantrail for New Zealand v Argentina game|
|New Zealand versus Argentina guard of honour on the Fan Trail|