TOKYO (Reuters) – New Zealand’s national airline has poked fun at Irish fans with a mock pre-match ‘safety tips’ video ahead of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup quarter-final with Ireland.
The video, which mimics an Air New Zealand pre-flight safety briefing and was released on the airline’s Twitter feed https://twitter.com/FlyAirNZ, advises fans of Joe Schmidt’s team, who have won two of their last three matches against the All Blacks, that they can expect “some upcoming turbulence” at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.
They are then told to fasten their seatbelts ahead of the All Blacks’ pre-match haka, or traditional challenge, “so they don’t flee too early”, while handheld electronic devices should be stored in pockets, so as to avoid being thrown at a screen.
Children should also be stowed away “in the event that language becomes colourful”, while fans are advised to put their heads in their hands in the crouch position if the All Blacks score an early try.
“Should those tries repeat, make your way to your nearest exit,” the video continues, with Irish fans shown fleeing for open doors and windows.
“Should the game go down to the wire, an oxygen mask will automatically drop down. Otherwise, please remain seated until your disappointment has come to a complete halt.”
The video ends with the two flight attendants stating they looked forward to seeing “all our shamrock-loving friends again, in four more years”, referring to the next World Cup.
Fans in New Zealand, however, will hope the current prank does not backfire.
Ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup, the airline, which has a long-standing relationship with New Zealand Rugby, painted the livery of the plane taking the team to the tournament in Britain with a picture of their front row.
The All Blacks lost in the semi-finals to France and the goodwill quickly evaporated – with some of the team’s baggage having the word “loser” scrawled across it on their return home to Auckland airport.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Toby Davis)