Sean Fitzpatrick’s First View of Twickenham
Former All Black captain, Auckland-born Sean Fitzpatrick, 55, looks back at the games he played at Twickenham, in a piece for the Guardian.
“I remember arriving at Twickenham for the first time, for a game against Barbarians in 1989, and all those childhood memories came rushing back, of growing up and watching the All Blacks in the early hours with a cup of hot chocolate,” Fitzpatrick recalls. “As a young boy dreaming of one day being an All Black you’d lie in bed at night, dreaming of pulling on the shirt and running out at Twickenham, or Cardiff Arms Park – the great stadiums of the world. To be there, to run out on to that pitch, to see everyone eating their cucumber sandwiches in the car park as we drove in, those are great memories.
“My next time at Twickenham was at the 1991 World Cup. By then I’d played 58 times for my country. We had a pretty experienced team, but for most of us including myself it was the first time we’d played against an Englishman. In those days England were quite different to us, in terms of the way they scrummaged, the way they packed the ruck, the line-outs. So we had to do a lot of specific preparations for that game. We came out on top that day, but by the time I came back again in 1993 England were a different prospect.
“When I play golf, my favourite courses are the ones I’ve played well on. It’s the same with rugby: my favourite ground in the world is Loftus Versfeld, because we won a series there. I like grounds where the fans are very close to you, like Newlands or Loftus. I used to love Cardiff Arms. Twickenham’s got some mixed memories for me, but it’s certainly one of the iconic grounds of the world.
“As I learned, at Twickenham anything can happen.”
Original article by Sean Fitzpatrick, The Guardian, November 6, 2018.