Yesterday was no different, we started off not to badly, went behind to a couple of penalties, conceded a try, scored a beaut of a try ourselves and went into half time trailing by only 6 points, then the wheels fell off!
Most disappointing however was the crowd, in my many, many visits to our stadium for a variety of football and rugby matches yesterday’s crowd has to be the smallest that I’ve ever witnessed, I know, supporters love a winner!
Notwithstanding the result, a great day, great weather, great company.
Only one more home game left, so not much more of the agony to endure.
The Currie Cup is reputed to be the oldest rugby provincial competition in the world and after a 12 year absence my Eastern Province is back in it!
It’s the top tier of S.A. rugby and yes, you’ve probably guessed by now we (EP) have never won it.
We won’t be winning it this year either but that matters not, the season kicked off last night with our first pool game against Western Province.
After our highly successful Super rugby campaign last year most of our players have been bought / stole / enticed away to ‘bigger’ clubs. (A Scottish bunch even enticed our coach away along with one of our best flankers!)
So, lots of new names to learn last night, lots of fringe players from last season getting a chance to step up to the big time lots of mistakes and drama but who cares (not me) another great night of rugby in our very own new stadium.
You can see that the Eastern Province team have reverted back to the famous Red and Black hoops kit, no more pandering to advertisers and promoters, no more dull black or white shirts that any true EP fans have absolutely no affinity with whatsoever, no, back to our famous red and black.
As you all know by know, results are hard to come by down here, suffice to say that we scored our first Currie Cup try in 12 years in the 32nd minute and led 11-10 at halftime, then the wheels fell off.
On the day that the 2014 football world cup kicks off across the Atlantic in Brasil our local hacks have decided to publish a (in their opinion) damning report card on the “shambles” FIFA left behind right here in the Eastern Cape back in 2010
Well, it aint my opinion.
I love our new stadium.
I use the ‘new’ roads and those upgraded (widened and resurfaced) on a daily basis.
The upgrade to our little airport and it’s infrastructure was long overdue.
And as for the cost to the city? I couldn’t care less, those who think that the money spent on maintaining the stadium (R13.2 million) would have been spent on welfare , housing or other developments, think again. It just meant less Mercs and overseas junkets for the elected few.
In 6 months of Super Rugby over 300,000 people attended the stadium to support / watch our E.P. Kings, that R13.2m equates to less than R50 per supporter! Not to mention the huge support when the Boks and World 7’s play here.
Less money in the ratepayers pot to be stolen and squandered.
My mates and I still reckon that those 30 days in 2010 were perhaps one of the best months of our lives!
We went down to the stadium to collect our actual printed tickets for the upcoming Eastern Province Kings matches and the friendly against Wales and the test against Scotland (it’s going to be a busy June!)
The young lady at the counter gave me 2 envelopes, one with my tickets and another with a McDonald’s key ring!
As a Season Ticket holder we got a R500 casino betting voucher (long gone!) A book of discounts for a variety of restaurants and clothing stores (which I’ll never use) and most importantly stadium parking for every match day, nobody ever mentioned a McDonald’s key ring!
So there I was yesterday, watching our sports news channel when a small clip on the 2013 performance of my Southern Kings appeared, as the camera panned the crowd after we conceded a try, I thought to myself “hey, that’s where I sit!”
So I rewound the programme (aren’t these new satellite receivers marvelous) and sure enough there I was!
Certainly a pic for my scrapbook.
(sorry about the flash, no, the chap in the foreground isn’t holding a torch, but .. well I’m sure that you understand)
Oh, Jaques Kallis retired from first class and test cricket yesterday, I’ve got his career stats on my pic, neat 🙂 )
What a day! What a weekend! What an event! What a crowd! What an atmosphere!
On an emotionally charged weekend, how fitting was it for the very first International sporting event to be held on South African soil after the death of Nelson Mandela to be held in the stadium that bears his name?
16 teams, 45 games, an extravaganza of rugby if ever there was one!
It’s fair to say that we probably spent more time in the bar / lounge during the day on Saturday then in the stand (except of course when the Blitzbokke were playing) it is after all a day of preliminary group stages where the minnows get the chance to play against the big guns but today (Sunday) was the main event, and what an event it was.
The beauty of this format is that it splits into 4 competitions during the course of the final day (Shield, Bowl, Plate and Cup) with all teams having a chance of gaining a medal and silverware as late as the mid-afternoon!
We got the dream final we wanted. The Blitzbokke cruised through their quarter and semi finals as did the All (cough) (splutter) Blacks.
I’ve written elsewhere that I thought that the Ref had a couple of ‘Mandela moments’ during the final but who cares? Final score Blitzbokke 17 – AB’s 14 (3 tries to 2)
It would appear that my days of watching live Super Rugby are over 😦
Let me explain.
There are 6 major playing regions here in South Africa but only 5 places available in the Super Rugby competition (in it’s current format.) I’ve explained previously that for as long as there has been Super Rugby my little part of the world has been completely ignored, that was until this year.
Be it politics, compassion or just plain old common sense our rugby hierarchy decided to to give us a chance and entered Eastern Province (under The Southern Kings franchise) in this years competition, at the expense of last year’s lowest ranked S.A. team ( The Lions) with the proviso that the Kings play the Lions in a home and away relegation / promotion series of matches come the end of the season.
Well, the first of these relegation / promotion matches was played last night, right here at our magnificent new FIFA world cup stadium, and yes, you’ve guessed it, the Kings lost.
Had the Kings won, we had plans for the 2,000km round trip up to Johannesburg to watch the 2nd leg, but we agreed at the end of last night’s game not waste our time, effort and money! Continue reading “Kings v Lions”