Finally match day was here! Game number 125 was upon us! This is what Super Rugby is all about – getting to know who walks away of the bragging rights of being the best provincial team in the Southern hemisphere and thanks to Vodacom, we were in Sydney – ready to see who is going to be the top dog in the scrap down under!
But first, the SuperGees Tour group made the Walking Distance trip to the ferry that took us to Manly beach. The ferry trip is 30 minutes long and is really a must for all tourists to Sydney! At Manly beach, we went to the 4 Pines Brewing Company for lunch.
The 4 Pines Brewing company claims to love beer, and this is evident in the beer that they serve. From Ciders to Stouts and even just the usual beer, is not that usual, in fact, it’s brilliant! The stout has a lovely chocolaty undertone and the ciders can quench a proper thirst on a warm day!
And then there is the food! Not to be outdone by the brilliant beer on offer, 4 pines ensured that the food is equally impressive. From starters that included some cheese, Parma ham, salads and grilled sausage to massive burgers that lets the biggest MacDonald’s burgers look like mini burgers. Then there was the desert – for the more serious of sweet tooth’s – best swallowed with something bitter like a hand full of sugar!
Again Vodacom and the tour organizers have outdone themselves with 4 Pines!
We then had a stroll around Manly beach to walk the massive lunch off, before we headed back to the city on the ferry. The ferry ride back was quite interesting, as for the first time during our trip, we had some cold weather. Back at the hotel, we just freshened up before meeting in the lobby.
We were picked up by a private bus at the hotel and dropped off right in front of the ANZ stadium. Yet again the Vodacom team made sure that we were treated like royalty – I mean, where in South Africa have you ever got a parking spot right in front of the stadium, in your own “team” bus?
Shortly before our arrival, we got a detailed match analysis by one of the guys on tour – who is a decorated journalist for The Mercury in Cape Town. He gave us an insightful analysis and predicted the match outcome to be very close, but in the favour of the Waratahs.
We got off the bus and went to the pre match festivities, just outside of the ANZ stadium. Although there were a few Crusaders supporters, the overwhelming majority were Waratahs supporters. It was good to see that the Australians, who prefer rugby league, came out in numbers to support the Waratahs. After a couple of beers and the usual pre match banter, we took to the stadium.
Getting to our seats was a breeze! The stadium is well laid out, and one can move around very easily. Once everybody got settled, some of the guys got some beers and donuts. Oh my soul… These donuts were incredible! They were light and oh so fresh! Later I learned that Krispy Kreme donuts are well known all over the world. I had more donuts than what I would like to admit to, but I never felt bloated!
The only thing better than the donuts, was the game! And what a game was! The Waratahs started with a bang, and the vocal Australian crowed loved every moment! Within a quarter of an hour, the Waratahs emphatically got double digits. I thought for myself that the final was going to be a one sided affair after that start!
But the Crusaders showed why they are the most successful Super Rugby team – they kept their cool, and even after losing Dan Carter, they got back into the game, at one stage leading it! The Crusaders looked like winning the game, but in a last minute effort, the Waratahs’ Bernard Foley slotted a penalty conversion from 45 meters out. The crowd went ballistic! The last few seconds of the came passed away in a quick frenzy and the Waratahs deservedly were crowned the Vodacom 2014 Super 15 Rugby Champions.