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February 06, 2010

An historic day for rugby in Cape Town

Cape Town Stadium rugbyA ball sails through the posts as The Vodacom Stormers build a lead. Photograph: Aslam Levy


The first recorded rugby game in South Africa took place on Green Point Common in 1862, and on Saturday, 40 000 supporters witnessed the inaugural rugby match at the newly built Cape Town Stadium on Green Point Common. 

The Vodacom Stormers beat a Boland invitational team 47-13.

Spectators took a short shuttle ride from the parking areas near Hertzog Boulevard on the Foreshore. Friendly officials handed out programmes and leaflets, while shepherding the crowd in the right direction. 

Giant Malian puppets in bold African dress handing out Cape Town flags met visitors on the stairs upon entrance. The Cape Town Tourism team was there in force, wearing their Live it! Love it! LOUDER! T-shirts. 

The music of local band Hot Water created a festive atmosphere. Wamkelekile, a crowd favourite, flowed into reggae. Hot Water then switched to playing Maskanda, a type of Zulu folk music that had the crowd stomping their feet and the final track was possibly the funkiest ‘sakkie-sakkie’ music you have ever heard.

Inside the stadium the curtain-raiser between South African Legends 10s and International Legends was won by the hosts, who scored in the first minute. The final score was 27-5.

Tim Horan and Tana Umaga were among the stars to turn out for the international team, while Robbie Fleck and Bobby Skinstad made appearances for the South African team.

Horan said after the match: “We’ve had a fantastic time in Cape Town during the 2010 Cape Town’s Tens. Yesterday we enjoyed a wine tasting in the Stellenbosch area.”

Dan Plato and Helen ZilleAlderman Dan Plato and Helen Zille. Photograph: Aslam Levy


Umaga added: “The sun is shining, the beach is just around the corner, and the people are friendly. It’s always great to come here.”

SAMA-Award winning band, Flat Stanley, reminded everybody why home-brewed is just so much better, finishing with their popular track As I am

Alderman Dan Plato, mayor of Cape Town, and the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, walked in to the sound of an orchestra and inspired the crowd with their words. Plato’s message was: “We are ready to welcome the world to the beautiful Mother City!”

Zille took the opportunity to thank the 2010 management teams and emphasised the saying “Ke Nako – the time is now.”

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. A Mexican wave went around the stadium five times, and when the Stormers scored a try within minutes, the crowd erupted. Chants of “Here we go Stormers, here we go,” drowned out any other sound from the stadium. The fans sported a mix of Stormers, Boland, Western Province, Springbok and even soccer jerseys, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoyed the event.

“It was beautiful; we really enjoyed the day,” said Stormers fan, Nemina Hlongwane.

Mishkah Khatib from Cape Town Tourism added: “There is such a vibrant, uniting spirit here today.”

Capetonian Fatima Croeser said: “We have applied for tickets for the England and Algeria game and hope to be back to watch some soccer at the stadium.”

“Dit was wonderlik hier gewees vandag; die atmosfeer het my die meeste beindruk (“It was wonderful here today; the atmosphere impressed me the most”), concluded Cecil Dramat.

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