Andy Burt

Andy Burt is a Wellington-based writer for and co-host of the All Blacks Podcast. He covers all levels of the domestic game in New Zealand and monitors the international game closely.

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Brisbane Tens: A view from a punter in the stands

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Andy Burt     15 Feb 2017     Getty Images

Aside from the intense heat, I don’t think many people knew what to expect on that first morning at Suncorp Stadium. The Tens format was foreign to most fans at the ground and it seemed just as foreign to the players to start with too. Most teams struggled through their opening games, expecting gaps to open up in the defence and relying on one off runners to break the line. But once the teams got the hang of the new game, it was a great spectacle. 


There were proper scrums, lineouts and rucks. Nehe Milner-Skudder was stepping up a storm, Shaun Stevenson announced himself as a genuine star, Stephen Larkham and other Australian legends look like they hadn’t aged a day and Japan’s Panasonic Wild Knights sprung a surprise with two wins on day one. It was just like fifteens only faster – way faster.

On television it didn’t look like many people were in the ground. But it was simply too hot to sit in the uncovered stands in the massive stadium with temperatures not dropping below 35 degrees on either day. The shaded areas of Suncorp were well populated and the concourse was constantly bustling with costumed fans enjoying the atmosphere and cooling off under one of the many ‘misting fans’ around the stadium.
The quality of play stepped up a notch on day two as the Crusaders, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders featured in the knock out stage. 

With temperatures hitting 40 degrees, the loyal fan followings of each New Zealand team made their way down pitch side to shout their lungs out for 20 minutes before moving back into the shade. It made for an amazing atmosphere as the different fan groups swapped position in the sunny spot on the halfway line to will their team on.

There were some magical moments on day two. Jordie Barrett nailing a sideline drop goal to knock the Highlanders out in the quarterfinal was always going to be hard to beat for this Hurricanes fan. But the day belonged to the Chiefs. After a mixed day one, the news of Sione Lauaki’s passing inspired the Chiefs on day two. Liam Messam was a titan throughout the day as the Chiefs took out the Reds, Bulls and Crusaders on their way to lift the inaugural title.
It was an emotional finish to an exciting two days of rugby. As 20,000 revellers poured out of the stadium I got the sense that most of them would like to come back again. I think I might join them. See you in 2018 Brisbane.

Andy Burt is the Digital Content Editor for