RAMBLINGS : A glorious defeat



It's October 2001, and one of the most inspiring stories in New Zealand sporting history is about to reach a climax.
Long one of New Zealand's poorest and most isolated provinces, East Coast is about 80% Maori, mainly of the Ngati Porou tribe. For years, the coast's rugby team had languished at the bottom of the lowest division in the national championship.
But then something changed. Riding a wave of near fanatical support, Ngati Porou-East Coast stormed its way up the tables to meet the Hawke's Bay Magpies in the second division final. It was a home game for the Magpies, but East Coast's sky-blue fans  outnumbered the Magpie's supporters three to one. East Coast lost, but for the fans it hardly seemed to matter. They had won something more important - pride in the place they call home.

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Copyright Peter de Graaf 2009 : Ramblings by Peter de Graaf : Last updated October 2009