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Bridge, McMenamin families on hand


GEORGE Bridge’s family got a good view of his try for the All Blacks on Saturday night.

“It happened right in front of us,” his mother Chick Bridge said.

“We were pretty much on the try-line.

“That certainly got us out of our seats.”

The All Blacks shut out the Wallabies 36-0 at Eden Park, responding emphatically to the pressure that came with a 47-26 defeat in Perth the previous weekend.

It was Gisborne-raised Bridge’s fourth test cap for New Zealand and his first start in the black jersey, on the left wing.

He and Sevu Reece, another inexperienced wing, had top-notch games for the All Blacks in Auckland.

Chick Bridge and her husband Crispin drove back to Manutuke yesterday and said they had received many messages of support from family and friends who were delighted with George’s performance.

“Gisborne was right behind him,” Chick Bridge said.

Crispin Bridge said it was clear in the first five minutes that the All Blacks were on song.

“The passion and desperation were there,” he said.

“A lot of resolve and effort went into the win.”

John Larsen, whose sawmilling business sponsors the Ngatapa sports club, said Bridge had an awesome game.

“He set up a try in the first half and scored late in the second half.

“He was where he needed to be all the time — and he went looking for work.”

Larsen said the signs were looking good for Bridge to be named in the Rugby World Cup squad to fly to Japan.

“Given his performance at the weekend and the way he has come off the bench in other games, I’d be highly surprised if he wasn’t on the plane.”

Awapuni School deputy principal Stu Barclay said it was good for Gisborne boys and girls to know that they could stamp their mark on the world.

Bridge went to an assembly at his former primary school last year.

Bernard and Rochelle McMenamin also got a pretty good view of their daughter Charmaine McMenamin scoring a try at Eden Park.

“My wife was leaping out of the stand,” Bernard McMenamin said.

The Black Ferns defeated the Wallaroos 37-8 in the curtain-raiser to the All Blacks’ game.

After an eye-catching performance in Perth last week, Charmaine McMenamin shone again at No.8.

Bernard said the weekend was “magic” — watching his daughter excel and then seeing the All Blacks win.

“I think she actually stepped it up,” he said of Charmaine’s performance.

Gisborne Intermediate was happy to claim both Bridge and McMenamin as former pupils, as well as New Zealand Warriors rugby league player Peta Hiku.

All Blacks winger George Bridge celebrates scoring a try against Australia during their Bledisloe Cup rugby test match at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday. AP picture