Big Test or big circus?

The All Blacks will have to contend with a dysfunctional clock among other things when they take on the Pumas in Buenos Aires tomorrow.

The Velez Sarsfield Stadium is the third major soccer venue in the Argentine capital, and is home to the club of the same name. Judging by it’s numerous quirks, it is surprising that a rugby international should be staged here.

The main concern is the lack of a working digital timepiece or scoreboard, and the international staged here against Wales last week was presided over by an archaic analog clock. There has been no indication from the Argentina Rugby Union or stadium officials that the situation will be rectified for the Test.

All Blacks head coach Graham Henry jokingly suggested the management team could be expanded to include a specialist to operate a stopwatch and tally up the points.

The quirks don’t end there either. The field is apparently narrower than regulation and as much as 6m shorter.

A moat also runs down the one side of the field to keep the crowd at bay. Whether it’s a clear day or not, the All Blacks may have to contend with a wet ball as it often lands in this channel. Fences cage the spectators at either end of the stadium, and water cannons are on hand to cool down irate fans.

The Test also coincides with Argentina’s second round clash against Mexico in Germany, Only 6000 seats have been pre-sold in a stadium that houses 50 000.