The scores on the doors: a grand total of 1.7 million supporters through the turnstiles over the course of 40 pool matches; a slightly less grand, but wholly reassuring, total of 25 people in the police cells. Wellington, the capital, has been the most testing location from a crime prevention perspective, but with an average of one arrest per 20,000 ticket holders, it is considered unlikely that a New Zealand version of The Wire will be filmed there in the near future. Auckland, the biggest city in the country by far, has had more matches than arrests; Rotorua, Whangarei and little old Invercargill in the far south have reported no incidents of any description. Down in Dunedin, where England based themselves for much of the group stage, there were six arrests and seven evictions – none of them, it is thought, involving members of Martin Johnson's squad. Such good boys. Makes you proud.
Eden Park far from heavenly for locals
You have to give the New Zealanders credit for placing their hard-earned money in the general vicinity of their mouths. As of yesterday, tickets were still available for all four of this weekend's quarter-finals, as is generally the case when a World Cup reaches its knockout stage and prices start heading skywards. However, the games in Wellington – Ireland versus Wales, Australia against South Africa – are close to selling out, probably because the locals expect to see some running and some passing rather than an old-fashioned kick-fest. Up in Auckland, home to the country's largest stadium, the All Blacks-Argentina tie will probably be in "house full" territory by Friday. The odd one out? England's meeting with France, also at Eden Park. The two least popular sides in the tournament grinding each other into the North Island dirt? It may turn them on in Europe, but it doesn't seem to play down here.
Lessons learnt from Campbell after all
New Zealand's opposition Labour Party may have learnt something from Alastair Campbell's ill-fated visit here with the 2005 Lions, after all. As the economy reels from its recent downgrading by two credit-rating agencies, the political spinners have launched a billboard campaign in Auckland and Wellington featuring the legend: "When things look black, we're at our best. Go the boys." Needless to say, the predominant colour is strikingly similar to the national rugby strip. Would Alastair (left) approve? Probably. He'd certainly find it more amusing than being debagged by a Lions tourist during a team meeting or discovering that one of the players had borrowed his mobile phone and called Tony Blair at the dead of night. Did these things really happen? Ah, that would be telling.Reuse content