From the Touchline

(Rugby News Service) Sunday 23 October 2011
From the Touchline
A French fan dressed as character Obélix on his way to the Final

AUCKLAND, 23 Oct. - On the tournament's final day, we focus on the people who have made Rugby World Cup 2011 such a roaring success - the fans.

The numbers

8,891 - The number of days since the first Rugby World Cup Final in 1987, which was also at Eden Park, and also between New Zealand and France.

He said it

“We know what it’s like to win in your own country, even if it is only half as special for the New Zealanders as it was for us in 1995. We really want them to win, particularly after the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquake.”
- David Schneider of Johannesburg, pictured below with two friends, stayed on for Sunday's Final despite the Springboks’ exit in the quarter-finals, and said he would be supporting the All Blacks despite the historic rivalry between the two rugby powerhouses.

Gallic humour

One French fan from Lyon obviously felt that dressing up as the famous rotund cartoon character Obélix would help give Les Bleus the strength to bring the Webb Ellis Cup to France.

“I am the resistance,” said Didier Souche, reminding confused New Zealand fans on the way to the ground for Sunday’s Final of Obélix’s superhuman strength against the invaders in Roman Gaul. “We will return with the World Cup.”

It was not clear whether "Obélix", pictured below, had managed to pass on to the French team the magic potion which gave him the power to indulge in his hobby of beating up Roman legionnaires.

"Obélix" on the right with French fans in distinctive hair and hats as they make their way to the Final

The red, white and blue is a hint of who these fans are shouting for ... and the sign is confirmation

Dave Schneider, left, and his South African buddies stayed around to support the All Blacks

New Zealand supporters sport black and white as they make their way to the Final

Youngsters were among the New Zealand fans getting into the spirit of things in Auckland on Sunday

RNS rg/rm/gs