- Over 61 000 people gathered at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg to watch South Africa take on New Zealand
- New Zealand survived a late comeback from South Africa as they beat the Springboks 35-23 in the Rugby Championship
- The atmosphere inside Emirates Airline Park was on another level as fans got behind the Springboks in the Rugby Championship
Rugby truly has the power to unite a nation.
This was evident at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday as over 61 000 people gathered to watch South Africa take on New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.
While the Springboks ultimately lost the match, the experience and atmosphere were the winners.
Excitement for the game builds up days in advance as sports fanatics hunt for any Springbok merchandise they can get their hands off. Unsurprisingly, fans could find no Bok shirts in any store and fans' best bet was to buy what they wanted either at the stadium itself or at the hawkers at robots on match day.
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What’s the experience like in the stadium itself?
Being inside the stadium for the game is incomparable. Men and women of all races and ages are excited about the game. Many were sporting the Green and Gold, with a few All Blacks supporters in between. So naturally, these New Zealand supporters were outnumbered and subjected to some chirping but ultimately got the last laugh.
Speaking of chirping
With any sporting event, there’s bound to be some banter involved. Most of these are light-hearted digs, but when the referee makes numerous bad calls, you can bet he will have some very choice words directed at him. None of those words can be included in this article, but a few were four letters and at least one started with the letter F.
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What else starts with F and is four letters?
Yes, the answer is food. Whether you’re watching at home or live at a stadium, no rugby game is complete without something to snack on. There’s plenty to indulge in at games, whether it be chips, biltong, doughnuts or candyfloss. But, of course, there’s plenty to drink as well, and often fans prioritise a trip to stock up on liquid refreshments, even if it means missing some of the action.
What did the fans think?
Brad and Kayla Naidoo found the atmosphere amazing, although they found the Bok performance to be less so. “SA were too complacent. I noticed this in the warm-ups. It was the total opposite to the game in Nelspruit,” Brad said.
Despite the disappointing result, Trisha Rajkumar and Carmel Pillay also thoroughly enjoyed the experience and even stayed behind to applaud the team after the game. You’d be surprised how many fans leave the stadium before the final whistle is blown.
What’s the best part of the whole experience?
The stadium singing along to some of the songs or joining in on a Mexican Wave comes to mind.
But undoubtedly, the most amazing part has to be the national anthem. Standing in a packed stadium belting the national anthem is an experience that will give you goosebumps. During the anthem, there are no barriers or divides; it’s just a stadium of South Africans of all races, ages and genders, uniting in a proudly patriotic moment. It’s a moment that truly emphasises what it means to be a rainbow nation.
Rugby Championship: All Blacks end losing streak with a good win against the Springboks
Two tries in the last five minutes enabled the All Blacks to overcome a strong comeback by the Springboks as they ended their three-match losing sequence with a deserved 35-23 Castle Lager Rugby championship win at Emirates Airlines Park on Saturday.
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It looked as though the Boks had recovered from a poor start and a 15-0 deficit when Handre Pollard kicked the penalty, putting them in the lead for the first time in the game in the 68th minute.
However, the effort of fighting back might have sucked in the Bok energy while the All Blacks are renowned for winning late on the highveld.
Source: Sports Brief News