Rugby treasure and hearty head off to Australia
As a red-and-black crusade heads to Sydney, All Blacks supporters will be hoping some silverware also Australia-bound today isn't on a one-way ticket.
A hearty bunch of Crusaders fans departed Christchurch Airport about 5am today to back their team in the Super Rugby final at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night.
Promoters were expecting a record crowd at ANZ Stadium for the match against the New South Wales Waratahs, with Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder hoping many ex-pat Cantabs and Kiwis would support the New Zealand team's tilt at an eighth Super Rugby title.
There were some 80,000 Kiwi expats living in Sydney and with ANZ Stadium's 83,500 capacity, there might be some room for some Australian fans.
Those Aussie fans would be hoping the other Australia-bound traveller today might stick around for a while.
Flying from Wellington, the Bledisloe Cup was strapped in on a seat in business class on a Qantas flight headed for Sydney. It was accompanied by an Australia Rugby Union representative.
The trophy, weighing 9kg, would remain under guard 24 hours a day while in Australia.
Australia had the home advantage for the Bledisloe Cup matches this year with the first in Sydney and the third in Brisbane. The New Zealand test was on August 23 at Eden Park.