Rugby Championship

Flyover rekindles RWC memories

2013-08-17 17:58
Fans (Gallo Images)
Soweto - Spectators at the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day were taken back in time as a passenger airplane did a flyover ahead of the Springboks’ match against Argentina at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

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The Charlotte Maxeke Airbus A330-200 flew low over the stadium in a repeat of pilot Laurie Kay’s 1995 Rugby World Cup flight over Ellis Park.

The 90 000 capacity stadium was three quarters filled as both rugby and soccer fans watched the Springboks and Bafana Bafana share the same stage on the same day.

The same crowd that watched Bafana beat Burkina Faso 2-0 in a friendly match earlier in the day stayed behind for the Springbok match.

Ground staff worked frantically to wash out the lines from the soccer match and mark out the lines for the Boks’ opening Rugby Championship match.

Spectators wearing Springbok and Bafana Bafana jerseys, and waving South African flags, vuvuzelas and various headgear were prominent throughout the stadium.

While the stadium was not filled to capacity by the start of the Springbok match, it was one of the most diversified crowds at a Springbok match.

Former South African presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk joined the national rugby side on the field for the singing of the national anthem.

Earlier in the day, the South African 'Legends' team were defeated 2-0 by an Italian 'Masters' outfit, in the first match of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.

The South African team featured stars from the victorious 1996 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) squad, including Mark Fish, John 'Shoes' Moshoeu and Phil Masinga as well as crowd favourites Jomo Sono and Mlungisi Ngubane.

The day's events, in recognition of the former president's contribution to sport in South Africa, comprise three major matches at the stadium.

First the 'Legends' exhibition, followed by Bafana Bafana's friendly international against 2013 Afcon runners-up Burkina Faso.

In an unprecedented initiative, the Springboks then hosted Argentina, in their 2013 Rugby Championship opener, at the same venue.

Read more on:    rugby championship  |  soweto  |  rugby

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