Friday, 6 November 2015

Rugby World Cup, Argentina v South Africa

by Ilana Berney

On 30th October 2015, the bronze final of the rugby World Cup took place and my family and I were lucky enough to be there. Held at the Olympic stadium, the bronze final would determine which team would come third in the cup.  It was safe to say that whatever the outcome it would be a great game of rugby as both teams were good.... We were not disappointed.

After overestimating how long it would take us to reach the Olympic park from where we were staying, we arrived there with three and a half hours before kick off and one and a half hours before the turnstiles were even opened. However this didn't prove to be a problem as even at this early time there was plenty of entertainment for everyone present, as it seemed a lot of people were in a similar situation as us. With live music, including a seemingly French mariachi band (weird I know), and several food stalls the crowd grew steadily with supporters of both sides mingling happily.

Come six o'clock, we had managed to gain as much free stuff as possible (three 'TRY' banners, one 'I LOVE RUGBY', three miniature Argentinian flags and three South African and my parents each got a free Diet Coke), we were ready to enter the stadium. What we didn't expect upon entering the stadium was for our seats to be so her the pitch. With the ticket "block 143 row 29 seats 21-23", we expected to be up high and far from the pitch. It was to our great joy that we found we were only 29 rows from the pitch near the middle. Perfect for watching the match.

Surrounded by supporters from both sides but mainly Argentinian, we along with a few others declared ourselves neutral. At this point I realised one of the major differences between rugby and football in terms of crowds and supporters. At a football game if you're surrounded by the opposing team you're more likely to get a punch in the face than a "well done" if you cheer when your team scored.

At a rugby match it's the opposite.

Of course everyone has fierce loyalties to their team or country, but they don't hate on the other teams. This is most noticeable when a team scores a try, instead of the opposing team being outraged they clap (albeit reluctantly and sadly) in support and acknowledgement of a normally well deserved try. This leads me to wonder why football crowds seem unable to do the same.

Being so close to the pitch meant we were guaranteed to witness some awesome things in great detail.  For example; watching a try being scored, regular lineouts , and phenomenal rugby being played just metres in front of you is an experience you'll never forget. Overall the whole day was fantastic and I hope one time in the future it'll be able to happen again.

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