Game day in Chicago for Black Ferns and Māori All Blacks

By Rahia Timutimu

It was a beautiful blue day in Chicago, America but at Soldier Field there was a sea of black, with New Zealand supporters wearing their favourite NZ supportive gear, showing just how many people from far and wide have touched down in Chicago to support both the Black Ferns and the Māori All Blacks.

One American woman had traveled 15 hours and more than 900 miles just to watch the women and men in Black play the USA Eagles.

A kiwi supporter who has been living in St Louis for 25 years told us that he travels the country to watch both the All Blacks and Māori All Blacks and was also excited to watch the Black Ferns.

The Black Ferns match was the first game of The Rugby Weekend held at Soldier Field and their supporters made sure to get to the venue early.

The match started at 12pm (CDT), followed by the intense game between Ireland and Italy at 3pm (CDT).

The Māori All Blacks and the USA Eagles were the last match of the day, which started a whole six hours after the commencement of the women's match, that started at 6pm (CDT) meaning there was more than four hours of rugby pleasure for the more than 31,000 supporters that turned out to Soldier Field.

Both New Zealand teams have been in Chicago for just under a week but have seen many of the city’s sights, the Māori All Blacks held an amazing race-like contest to familiarize themselves with the city, whereas some players from the Black Ferns took the Architectural cruise around Chicago, and also attending NBA and Ice Hockey matches.

Following their games on Sunday (NZT) the two New Zealand teams will go different ways, the Black Ferns depart for Toulon, France to prepare for their second match of their tour which will be against France. The men's team will fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil to prepare for their second match of the third games in their end of year tour.

The Black Ferns will name their side to take on France this coming Wednesday.