Italy-All Blacks in 2009 at San Siro: when the National Anthem was our Haka

The Black Tide rises. I have always been struck by these words, the phrase that indicated the fury of the All Blacks that you brought on, an unstoppable tide galloping that pushes back, that leaves you breathless, anxious, if you’re in front of the television makes you jump on the chair, a tide admired so many times, dreamed of but never seen live, until 2009.

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Video – What is the meaning of the Haka of the All Blacks? Here she is with the translated text


Rugby at the Scale of the Football, a good bet

In November of the ninth year of the new millennium, the FIR (Federazione Italiana Rugby), assigns to the RCS, the organisation of three Test matches, with Samoa, with south Africa and New Zealand. RCS dreaming big and the goal is to fall in love with Italy in the Rugby. Are chosen the stage and will play against Samoa in Ascoli, on the 28th of November, against south Africa in Udine on the 21st, and against the All Blacks at the San Siro on the 14th of November.

San Siro, the Scala of Soccer, the sacred temple of the game most loved by the italians, who hosts the sport by opposing values. The project is ambitious, the capacity of the Meazza is immense, you rush to fill it, and the length of the field is at the limit but you can do it and the project takes shape. At the time of the announcement, the uproar caused is immense, and Italy – All Blacks in San Siro is the event to see, the Must-have of 2009, Bob Dylan, Oasis and Depeche Mode fade into the background, it is an event, “I was there” and it triggers the hunting ticket, which leads sold out.

I continue to play because I respect you

The input of the All Blacks in San Siro, Italy-New Zealand 2009, San SiroGetty Images

The history of challenges between the two nations began in 1979, they played in Rovigo (Veneto land of Rugby) and saw the victory of the All Blacks to 18-12. 11, the junctions between the two nations, between Test matches and the World cup, 11 of the victories of the All Blacks, the gap less precisely in the game of Rovigo, the gap the higher the 101-3 of Huddersfield, 1999, in a World cup won by Australia against France giustiziera of new zealand in the semi-finals. On the occasion of the massacre perpetrated to the damage of Italy a journalist, little, an expert asked, in the press conference, because the All Blacks had wanted to humiliate his opponents, after a moment of silence bewildered, he replied that the new zealanders had continued to attack, out of respect for the italians, and that the stop and to spare them would instead result hateful (just to taste a little bit of the mentality of the oval ball).

Mentality, already, playing at the San Siro, one of the questions that arose spontaneous was “but the great public is ready for the rugby? Know embrace the mentality of the rugby?” Was a a legitimate question, you istitutì a massive campaign of dissemination of the ethical principles in sports, and at the base of the game of the oval ball, you spoke only of rugby. We were all very curious about the first game, clearly the comparisons with south Africa and Samoa passed in the second plan because the “bet the San Siro” was great. Personally, I was involved as a speaker of the preshow and the event with the speaker, historian of the FIR and details of the public awareness-raising were numerous, we were all a bit worried of the “typhoid stage” because we knew it would not be a public homogeneous of fans of rugby (the ones that you drink the beers at fans mixed without the hint of an insult, to be clear) but a diverse audience and curious.

The majestic view of the San Siro, lent to rugby, Getty ImagesGetty Images

Some All Blacks had already tasted San Siro, in the previous year, when a small delegation had arrived in Italy, as a guest of AC Milan and the technical sponsor that they had in common, for a charity campaign to play together and were invited to the San Siro to see, in the red stand, a championship game at night against Lazio (finished 2:1 for the referee). They went to Ali Williams, Joe Rokocoko and Dan Carter, and their behavior in the course of the first half had already reached the ears of journalists to the game as soon as finished, since the boys, after the first 10 minutes watched, in amazement, began in frizzi and lazzi to get pushed to read by jumping on the chairs and rolling around, laughing, not being ready to appreciate the “art of simulation” as it was called by the press officer of the Milan, the next day, at Milanello (The second time dedicated to the vip room).

The Magic of a song sung by 80,000 people

However, let us return to 2009. The wait is huge, the capacity of San Siro is 80018 spectators , and in that season, only Milan and Real Madrid in the Champions League (played in the month before, 3:2 for milan) and the Italy – All Blacks saw the sold out.

Already from the heating, with 60000 viewers, we could feel the tension, the excitement. The entrance of the teams was chosen with care, with the cameras that were waiting outside of the changing rooms, the face of the captain, Dan Carter. The All Blacks came on the lawn of the San Siro accompanied by a roar, huge and by the music of Metallica, the track was The Four Horseman, did it start at minute 2:04, the departure of an intro that took them out of the tunnel in the middle of a schitarrata powerful. For the same input of the Italy, immediately after, but accompanied by Carmina Burana, the atmosphere was explosive.

The teams are lining up, the band is ready to play the hymns, before, of course, that new Zealand and at the beginning of the music, the unexpected. It is at this point that the famous “I was there” becomes important because the television is not realized anything.

What happened? The microphones of the issuer who took and passed the game went into the Larsen effect with the sound spread inside the stadium, a whistle absurd resolved in a few seconds by unplugging beautifully spread inside the San Siro. A feeling of disconcerting and unreal atmosphere, but the tv show saved and continued without problems, with the crystalline voice of new zealand soprano that echoed in the silence of the stadium. Among the experts, radio communications, questions on what to do, the anthem next would be Italian, sung by Denis Dallan, the former three-quarters of the wings of Italy (42 caps) and is now content but nothing to do, went protected the television, the hymn was not amplified.

Where was the Magic? Where is hidden the germ of pride in this ready to explode from the chest, from the heart and from the lungs of 80000 spectators in the stadium (almost) silent? The band attacks the ta-tarata-ta-tatatà and for the San Siro you feel a huge sigh, a breath held back, and while Dallan unleash a beautiful voice excited, others 80000 begin to scream in a triumphal march in unison. The items arrive in the middle of the field, the song is a roar, the Bergamasco brothers are shouting the hymn of Mameli crying, the XV Italian, inflate your chest, still today, the memory of those few minutes resounds in the memory of every spectator present.

The Bergamasco brothers, in tears, singing the National anthem at the top of their lungs, Italy-All BlacksEurosport

Also the Haka is unreal, in the silence you can hear the voices of the All Blacks, for a first start of the whistles silenced by a “shhh” generally follows a silence filled with respect and the applause of the entire stadium, spectators have understood and are ready.

A game of magic

The game is incredible, it is not a domain in Black, the Italia plays with generosity and is attached to opponents, answers and suffering, the audience never stops cheering and rooting FOR Italy, never against the opponent. It ends, after a battle in the cold of November in milan, with the Italy for 12 minutes in the last 5 metres of the new zealanders, spurred on by a wonderful audience. A free-kick after another against the scrum the All Blacks who are no longer able to cope and turn the scrum and the collapsing of continuous but the referee does not grant the technical goal. And rugby, there is complaining about the referee’s decisions and the public pushes and screams, urges, and dreams.

Castrogiovanni is announced as the Man of the Match and part of another roar, the Italy tries to conquer the “Dirty Final Goal” that never comes, while arriving to the final whistle. The San Siro stands, at least the few that were still sitting down, Italy goes out with head held high to the cheers of the stadium, and opponents, everyone is aware that there will never be, in Italy, a match as well.

While the players come out altered, embraced, from the mid-field intersection, Anthony Boric, the second line of the origins of Croatian is upset, we met at Milanello, the year before and we had chatted long seen, seen the influence of both. Saluted him at the end of the game, curious, I ask him: “Anthony, how was it to play at the San Siro?”. I imagined you answer me something about the atmosphere on those last 12 minutes or on the public, or on the beauty of the stadium, instead he looks at me and without hesitation I said “Man, your anthem was your Haka, I had goosebumps”, man, your song is your haka, I had goosebumps.

The Hymn of Mameli, who in the night of 14 November 2009, he put fear to the All Blacks.

P. S. the match ended 20:6 for New Zealand, but no matter

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