We decided to take a short detour to Cardiff for a bucket list item. We found out the Wales rugby team was playing the New Zealand All Blacks! When we were in New Zealand a couple years ago, it wasn’t rugby season so we weren’t able to catch a match, unfortunately. So we jumped on the chance to see the famous Haka!
This diversion wasn’t part of the original plan, but thanks to our amazing travel business we were able to find affordable flights from Dublin to Cardiff and a lovely bedroom in a 3 story townhouse in Penarth, just a 10 minute train ride from Principality Stadium for the rugby match. The tickets were sold out, but we were able to find some (not so affordable) on a resale website. Totally worth it though!
When we arrived in Penarth, we were greeted by our gracious hosts who walked us through the town to the train station, but not without stopping for a pint first.
Penarth is an amazing suburb of Cardiff. Lovely shops, pubs, and restaurants. It’s a small area where everyone knows everyone. Our host was saying “hello neighbor” and “where are you going to watch the rugby match?” To practically everyone we passed on our walk.
After our pint, we hopped the train to the stadium. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people – over 70,000 attending the rugby match and countless others watching in nearby pubs! A good mix of Wales and New Zealand fans wandering up and down the closed off streets (too many people for cars!) stopping at souvenir shops and getting a quick bite and pint.
Once inside the stadium, we felt like we were at the Super Bowl! Such a fun atmosphere and all the fans were very nice despite the fact that we were sporting All Blacks gear. We should note that each person it allowed to purchase 4 alcoholic beverages at once, which makes carrying those and your hot dog all the more difficult.
We watched as the fire canons went off as team Wales entered the field. Everyone cheering and chanting to get pumped up! Then came New Zealand. They got in a triangle formation and began the Haka. A true treat and totally intimidating. Wish we could’ve seen the faces of team Wales (they’re back were to us). Although we imagine them with “game faces”, but shaking on the inside. Haha. You can see the video of the Haka on our Instagram – @endlesstravel365.
The match began. The first half was a great site, each team going back and forth scoring. Rugby is a pretty crazy sport to watch live. Especially since they don’t wear pads or helmets. The fans are equally as crazy, chanting “WALES! WALES! WALES!” and singing a traditional song to keep the players energized. The second half was all New Zealand. Final score 33-18.
After the match we let the crowd disperse a bit then made our way down to the field as all the players were heading into the locker rooms. Justin even managed a selfie with one of the All Blacks! Lindsay was too short to get in the pic, but did get a high five!
We made our way back to Penarth and met up with our hosts back at the pub. We hung out for hours discussing the match, laughing at our similarities as couples, and learning about Wales culture. What was a trip to a rugby match turned into an excellent two days with new friends. A true gem and we would’ve loved to stay longer, but we will be back for sure.
Enjoy the Ride,
Justin and Lindsay