Boks in eMalahleni: A fan’s perspective

Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 20 Jun 2010 at 15:55
Tagged with : , ,

When I heard the Boks were playing in Italy in Witbank, I was genuinely excited as this would in all probability be an affordable opportunity to watch the Springboks live at an affordable price, while only being less than two hours drive away. We have had an article about the match, so this will be more about my matchday experience than a review of quite a flat second half Bok performance.

After struggling to find the stadium (there seemed to be no road signs to it) the day’s festivities kicked off with a customary braai in the car park. The friend we went with pretty much refuses to go to rugby matches without braaiing but no one was complaining as the boerewors and steak rolls added to the atmosphere on a cold Mpumalanga afternoon.

The stadium is admittedly not a world class sporting venue but it did have an element of small town charm to it, despite the stadium being nowhere near full, which would have obvioudly been a big disappointment for the host union, as they put up temporary stands (among other things) especially for the occasion. The fact that advertising for the match was virtually non-existent did not help attendance figures.

The seats we got reminded me of watching school sports on the cement pavilions, except these had paint markings on them so as to ensure you know where to sit. Having a quick look around the stadium before kick off the thought struck me that this probably very similar to a stadium in New Zealand with a knowldgeable and passionate crowd braving the cold and the cold cement seats and enjoying the rugby.

As far as the on-field action went. The Boks won this one at a canter and probably played at about 50-60% of their potential and this may be a symptom of the awesome win against the French where the players struggled to get motivated for this relatively smaller test.

When the Boks turned it on, the Italians could not live with them, unfortunately for South African fans, that only happened for about 20 minutes or so. I must say that one player in particular had a much better day in a Bok shirt than I have ever seen him have, which was Zane Kirchner, he looked solid (yes, solid) under the high ball, created the first try for Habana, as well as scoring the only try for the Boks in the 2nd half.

Having been to more than a few games at the bigger stadiums I must say that a test match in Witbank cannot really compare, with the infrastructure hastily put out for a one-off match and the lack of big match organisation evident when trying to do something like buy a cold drink.

That being said, the atmosphere made up for any downsides and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would recommend SARU to give more test matches to the likes of Witbank, things can only get better with experience.

VIVA AMABOKOBOKO!! (and eMalahleni)


  • Zane looked good only because the other were so awfull 😈

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.06.10 16:04:25 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Will be going o the game in East London next Sat – we have to support whatever rugby we get 😉 At least I know where the stadium is :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.06.10 16:15:07 by diablo (VICTORY! sweeter on neutral ground!) Reply

  • @JarsonX (Comment 1) : we actually scrutinised zane to try and make a point that he was not up to it, but he proved us wrong!

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.06.10 16:26:41 by war1 Reply
  • After watching the game it just further proves that Parisse is the form 8 in the world at the moment. He always manages to put in a good game even though his team is struggling. I wonder how much better he would be at international level if he were playing for a top 5 country.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.06.10 18:20:55 by lostfish Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 3) : Just like Ricky has proven all his praise singers wrong……to stake your claim as the best, you need to bring your A-game every week against any competition (not just the 6N bottom loggers and not just the 6N top team – Referring to Crusty and Ricky respectively)

    C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-Y 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.06.10 18:56:45 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • FTL
    Habana, Spies and Butch also had an off day!!

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.06.10 19:28:25 by wpw Reply
  • This is funny: lol : “(there seemed to be no road signs to it)”

    google witbank rugby stadium and the address is displayed, even with a map. On Google maps you will also see a orange icon, drag it to the street and follow the road. The technology is called google street view, launched in SA on Tue a week ago.

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.06.10 20:31:46 by MrG Reply

  • Why did pdv waste the top players in this match. there’s no way on earth they were gonna come out firing and whip the azuri by 50. Should have gone with fringe players

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.06.10 20:33:14 by MrG Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 6) : How many times has there been a question regarding their consistency?

    In more games than not they perform at their peak, where Ricky tends to have an off game for every great game he plays, kinda like Rocket.

    As for Crusty, he’s yet to prove his ability to perform at top level seeing as Italy is hardly a top side. Crusty does quite well for the Nulle, but to date has been unable to show the same form at international level (except for Saturday).

    I’m expecting the same from our Bok players as I do from referees. Consistency.

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.06.10 21:08:14 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • (Comment 8) : @MrG (Comment 8) : The Kiwi’s send out their team to play a second string Irish team and they still paste them by 50 odd. The Boks need to play each and every game with passion and pride. There was no passion in Witbank and no one can be proud of the way they played except for the Italians.

    Perhaps Snor needs to motivate his team like Mallet did with the Italians. I would love to see Mallet with no hair. Maybe Snor should offer to shave his moustache??

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.06.10 21:22:09 by lostfish Reply
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  • FTL
    I agree bru. Kirchner is not one of my favourites but he did have a good game so let’s hope he can perform just as well if not better in the remaining games.
    I’m a bit concerned at the lack of depth at fullback.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.06.10 21:59:01 by wpw Reply
  • @MrG (Comment 7) : the benefits of hindsight, pretty good to find the stadium without a map or road signs 😉 but the point was that it was not very well advertised

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.06.10 22:34:25 by war1 Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 11) : It is looking a little thin at fullback but there is Lambie who came through the S14 with flying colours. It is a huge pity we lost Little Joe to French rugby as he played so well in the S14 too.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.06.10 22:36:51 by lostfish Reply
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  • to set the record straight, I don’t think Kirchner should be the Bok fullback and he does need to perform consistently, but it is unfair to lay the blame on him for the Bok performance

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.06.10 22:37:02 by war1 Reply
  • So what if Kirchner performs consistently for the Boks in very much the same way he has been playing for the Bulls??
    I wonder if people will get off his back??
    He is not that bad, surely??

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.06.10 23:04:26 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 15) : if kirchner plays for the boks like he does for the bulls, i have no problem with him playing there, but i dont think people will get off his back

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.06.10 07:34:27 by war1 Reply
  • Which is really sad!!

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.06.10 07:56:03 by wpw Reply
  • @JarsonX (Comment 1) : agree with you on that one Zane was great :mrgreen: butch well i don’t know 👿 just didn’t have it in him and the rest well rest my case 😉

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.06.10 08:58:59 by chaz (For you Bro) Reply

  • pdv is getting fired after the world cup if were going to play ten man rugby why wasn,t heynecke meyer chosen as coach

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.06.10 09:03:48 by zvision10 Reply

  • @zvision10 (Comment 19) : now how true is that story 🙄 PDV

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.06.10 09:11:54 by chaz (For you Bro) Reply

  • @zvision10 (Comment 19) :

    I think your rant is 2 years too late dude.

    Where have you been all this time?? Siberia?? 😈 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.06.10 09:36:33 by wpw Reply
  • @zvision10 (Comment 19) : Jees oke… what the hell are you on about? I get the feeling this blog is getting a bit “KEO” in the quality (or lack there of) of it’s comments these days!!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.06.10 11:43:06 by CS Reply


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