Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fans Mingle before Kiwis Took on the Tongans at St James'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fans Mingle before Kiwis Took on the Tongans at St James'

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Reporter

RUGBY fans from across the globe descended on Newcastle as the World Cup returned to the city.

Supporters from New Zealand and Tonga crammed into St James' Park to see their sides clash last night, the city's second helping of the World Cup 2015.

Fans of all nationalities also filled the city's official Fanzone at Science Central for the game, which saw the All Blacks perform their famous haka routine on the St James' Park pitch, before racing into a 14-3 half-time lead.

Newcastle hosts its third and final world cup game today when Scotland, fresh from last week's St James' South Africa showdown, face Samoa.

Followers of the All Blacks made up the bulk of the crowds who filled the Fanzone on yesterday afternoon, with a smattering of Tonga fans for good measure.

Supporters wearing the colours of France and England were among other nationalities enjoying the build up to last night's game. They lapped up a dance routine inspired by the famous Haka, chatted with fans from other countries and enjoyed the food, drink and fairground rides on offer.

Among the crowds were pals Goffan Benoit, 47, and Mathy Lorent, 40, Belgians decked out in All Black tops.

The rugby fans have come to the UK for the tournament and were in Cardiff last weekend watching the All Blacks.

They travelled up to Newcastle for last night's match that morning and are staying for the Scotland v Samoa clash at St James' today.

Today, they will be switching their allegiance from the All Blacks to Scotland.

The duo had yet to see much of the city.

Goffan said: "We only know the fanzone. The fanzone is a good place to enjoy the rugby atmosphere today. Today in the stadium and also tomorrow in the stadium!" The mates were mingling with Tonga fans, husband and wife Sione, 31, and Isis Sake, 29.

The pair were clad in Tonga tops, with Sione originally from the country but the couple now living in Washington DC.

Today they will be backing Samoa, Isis' homeland, before heading to Gloucester tomorrow to watch their adopted country.

The pair arrived in Newcastle on Thursday night.

Sione said: "We spent all day today walking around. We made our way down to the Riverside, took in a lot of cultures, met a lot of interesting people. It was a pretty good time, there's a lot of history here in the city. It is beautiful, it is a lot bigger than I expected!" Also enjoying the fanzone were All Blacks fans father and son Anthony, 40, and Caleb Falla, 10. Anthony is originally from Christchurch while his son was born in the UK.

The pair are on their first trip to Newcastle and came up on Friday morning. "It's a nice place, if I had known I would have stayed another night. The atmosphere is amazing, the city and the local people as well. …

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