Pride in jersey restored for Auckland rugby fan

By James Perry

It's been eleven years since Auckland last won the national title.  However, one fan has stayed staunch despite living in the Waikato for a long time.

Lyndsay Snowden grew up in Auckland at a time when the Whetton brothers, the Brooke brothers, and Sean Fitzpatrick were household names.  He describes the Auckland team of that time as godlike.

Tomorrow two of NZ rugby's greatest rivals, Auckland and Canterbury, clash again in the final of the Mitre 10 Cup. 

It's the first final the Aucklanders have appeared in in three seasons, and first they have hosted in eleven years.

While his team hasn't had much luck in the past decade, Snowden has remained true to his side.

Living and raising a family in Te Awamutu in that time has seen him take a ribbing from friends, but he says he has never wavered from his beloved Auckland.  He says showing support during the hard times are what makes a true supporter and what makes the success taste even sweeter.

Snowden is, however, careful not to count his chickens too early.  He is well aware of the threat Canterbury pose.

He says there is no great secret to Canterbury success, where they have won ten of the past eleven national titles, the red and blacks are simply masters of getting the basics right and playing to their game plan. 

That will be the key to victory again tomorrow for both sides.

Canterbury will be missing their All Black players who are in Japan preparing for the test match against Australia, which will be played after the Mitre 10 final.

Auckland will also be missing Dalton Papali'i who has had a call up to Steve Hansen's team.  However, they will be able to field their Māori All Blacks Akira Ioane, Jonathon Ruru and Robbie Abel and Marcel Renata.

Snowden says having their best team available only adds to the pressure to deliver a title to a province who have gone without since 2007.

Win or lose tomorrow, the pleasing thing for Snowden is that finally the light at the end of the long tunnel seems to be in sight, and a bright future beckons for Auckland.