For the first time in his four years as in-charge of the iconic Eden Park in Auckland, Nick Sautner says he witnessed a near-stampede at the turnstiles last Sunday. A 15-year record crowd of 43,000 poured in for the Super Rugby encounter between the Blues and Hurricanes, though Sautner says the atmosphere was so electric that he felt it was twice that number.
“Has to be one of the best nights at this famous ground…One of the most historic, too,” he says.“The match was competitive but it had a friendly vibe. It was like it didn’t matter who won or lost. Some of the players were rusty, too. But it just felt good to be out there at a rugby game again. We were all thrilled, watching a match in the stadium for the first time,” says Ronald Jones, a member of the Blues’ fan group, as his team prevailed over Hurricanes 30-20.