If you wish upon a star, make sure you are awake

Last updated 22:14 11/09/2008

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Martin Luther King once famously declared he had a dream. I had one of those the other night, writes Jamie Mackay in this week's Mackay's The Limit.

With fulltime showing on the clock, and after a dozen relentless attacking phases, Ranfurly Shield glory awaited the Southland Stags at Eden Park as the ball was spun wide and a four-on-two overlap developed.

With lightning-fast hands Jason Kawau was able to unload to replacement hooker Jason Rutledge who had Kenny Lynn and Matt Saunders unmarked outside him.

Rutledge, whose blood flows maroon, knew this was his destiny, his reason for being.

In that nanosecond, as he drew the last line of Auckland defence, he thought of his father Leicester's lost shield opportunities, before putting Lynn in for the winning try in the corner.

Such was the elation in the Southland camp, with the score at 14-13, Blair Stewart dispensed with the formalities by gleefully turning to the crowd, drop-kicking the conversion attempt into the back row of the grandstand.

At the immediate after-match interview an elated captain Jamie Mackintosh, displaying a penchant for posterity, took inspiration from Peter Jones' epic 1956 comment from the very same ground by declaring himself "absolutely buggered".

Not content with that immortal uttering, and on a roll as the cameras rolled, the big guy went straight to the top shelf of immortal Kiwi quotes exclaiming, in the best traditions of Sir Ed, "We knocked the bastards off".

After a mayoral reception for the Stags on Sunday, Tim Shadbolt unilaterally declared Monday a public holiday for all Southlanders.

The ensuing tickertape parade started in Te Anau and wound its way through Gore and Winton before culminating in a 50,000-strong throng at Rugby Park stadium.

In total, half the province's populace was there and the other half wished they could be.

The last man to hold aloft the shield, the great W R (Robin) Archer, was flown down from his Christchurch base to address the delirious fans.

Other speakers included fellow 59ers A J (Ack) Soper and K F (Kevin) Laidlaw as well as former All Blacks Brian McKechnie, Ken Stewart, Leicester Rutledge, Jeff Wilson and Paul Henderson.

Mackintosh, as Archer had done 49 years earlier, held the Log of Wood aloft before passing it on to the conquering coaches Simon Culhane and David Henderson.

The latter's elated sibling then jumped back on stage and, in an unscripted fit of hitherto unknown bounteous benevolence, declared to all gathered he was shouting for his victorious twin brother.

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At that point I awoke and realised, this time at least, I was dreaming the impossible dream.

 » Jamie Mackay is a Gore-based veteran broadcaster known for his well-documented rise through the rugby ranks to the heights of the Southland B team and his irreverent rugby commentary work as the captain of the Scream Team.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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