I was privileged to be at the test match on Saturday that was an amazing experience despite the result. My brother phoned me a couple of months ago before the Tri-Nations started and asked whether I’d be interested to go watch the Tri-Nations game between the Boks and the All Blacks at Ellispark. I immediately said yes since I haven’t been to a test match in about 12 years. At that time the Boks were still the favourites after the SA team’s domination of the Super 14. Then the rumours started that the game would be at Soccer City and the excitement mounted and my Brother managed to get us the tickets to the game.
Saturday 21 August 2010
05:00 My alarm goes off unnecessarily because I’ve been awake since about 04:00 thinking about the big day ahead. Wake up the wife and 3 year old daughter (damn it was nice to wake her up for a change)
06:30 Drop my daughter at the In-laws and say our goodbyes. Leave a SA flag with my daughter with instruction to wave it during the match. Stop at the 24-hour shop and buy ice for the cool box.
07:00 Start the 350km journey to Johannesburg.
10:30 Arrive at my brothers house and immediately have a beer to calm the nerves.
10:45 Have another beer just in case the first one didn’t have the desired effect.
11:00 The women send my brother and I for some last minute shopping for baby food. (can’t they plan ahead??)
12:30 Pack the car and follow the check list.
Beer – Check
Tickets – Check
SA Flags – Check
Springbok jerseys – Check
Parking ticket – Check
Tickets – Check again
Beer – Check again
12:50 Off to Soccer City via my brothers well planned alternative route which takes us through Melville and Brixton onto Nasrec drive.
13:30 The first sight of Soccer city. Bloody hell that is huge! There are cars everywhere and just about every one has a flag hanging out the window. This is going to be fantastic. The full range of Springbok gear is being sold along the road by hawkers making an absolute killing but who cares it history in the making.
13:50. Find parking under a tree nogal and pull out the camp chairs, skottelbraai and cool boxes. OK maybe not in that order, the cool boxes might have been first.
14:00 I’m actually feeling relaxed for the first time today. I can see Soccer City and I have the tickets and all that we need to do now it take an easy stroll to the stadium and find my seats.
14:30 I ate for the first time today and the boerierolls with prego sauce went down sooo well. I’m a bit careful not to drink to much beer because there aren’t any loos anywhere in sight. Some of the guys in our group have their faces painted with the SA Flag and Springboks by some industrious locals.
15:30 Cars are now really pouring into the car parks and the mood everywhere is up beat and it feels like there is no way the Boks could possible lose this game.
15:45 Grab a last beer for the road, grab the flags, make sure we have the tickets and start strolling towards the stadium. Damn that’s a big stadium. Thousands and thousands of people are moving towards the stadium and everybody has to cross this bridge from the Nasrec centre side towards the stadium. The bridge is probably 40-50 metres wide and its chock ‘n block full of people dressed in green.
16:00 I can’t believe it but 9 out of 10 people are wearing Springbok jerseys and about 7 from 10 have either a SA Flag or a Springboks flag.
16:15 Queuing outside but the lines are moving nice and fast. We’re in and now we are all frantically looking for the toilets and we can’t find any walking around the outside of the stadium. Dammit I need to pee. Finally we find the toilets which are conveniently placed behind the seats in the inside perimeter of the stadium.
16:45 Take our seats. Strange thing about Soccer City is that while it is such a huge setup it feels kind of cosy. It doesn’t feel nearly as big from the inside as it does from the outside. The seats are spacious and the rows aren’t to close together and it’s actually very comfortable. Maybe not so for my brothers best friend. He’s tall enough to look Andries Bekker straight in the eyes and he weighs about 160kg’s.
16:50 Bobby van Jaarsveld sings ‘Spieeltjie Spieeljie’ and the majority Afrikaans crowd goes nuts.
16:55 Some Zulu dancers to entertain the crowd. It’s getting very noisy and 99% of the seats are taken.
17:00 The announcer gets the crowd worked up about John Smit’s achievements.
The All Black’s run onto the field with some applause and then the big screens show John Smit coming down the tunnel and huge roars sounds. What a legend despite what anybody says. I get this emotional lump in my throat and cheer just as loudly as everybody else when he emerges from the tunnel. What an occasion? It’s the dream test at the dream venue and its John Smit’s 100th!!
17:02 The cheers subside and everybody stands up for the national anthems (those that weren’t standing already). The New Zealand National Anthem is sung and the crowd cheer. Then the sound of Nkosi Sikele iAfrica starts and the stadium erupts in singing but I’m struggling with this damn lump in my throat. And why are my cheeks wet? Somebody must have spilt some beer on me. There must be at least 40 000 flags in the stadium. What a sight?
17:05 The All Black’s line up for the famous Haka and before they can even start the crowd starts chanting ‘ole ole ole ole’ and the noise is absolutely deafening. The crowd is showing absolutely no respect for the Haka.
Then the game kicks of and the crowd calms down and the rest as they say is history.
I won’t comment on the game because I still haven’t watched it again but the entire experience was absolutely worth it and I can understand why sports unite people because every single person in that stadium felt like my bother or sister and they were all there to experience the beautiful game that is rugby.Tweet