More than 20,000 spectators … Professional rugby celebrated its comeback at a stadium in the presence of a large crowd in Dunedin, farther south of New Zealand, to witness the success of the local franchise on Saturday’s Otago Highlanders over the Waikato Chiefs.
Professional rugby in New Zealand celebrated its comeback on Saturday June 13 with the meeting between the Otago Highlanders and the Waikato Chiefs.
Over 20,000 spectators witnessed the victory of the local franchise, making this the first major sporting event in the world that has taken place with an audience that is eligible to come without restrictions to fill the stadiums at a stadium from the start. of the Covid-19 epidemic in mid-March.
The party was beautiful and the excitement of the meeting: one minute before the end, Bryn Gatland, who entered the game a few minutes earlier, offered a drop victory over the wire to the Highlanders 28 to 27.
This meeting inaugurated Super Rugby Aotearoa, a version of Super Rugby “limited” to New Zealand, where the five local Super Rugby franchisees gathered, the annual competition usually brings together teams from the four major nations of the Southern Hemisphere – New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina.
With Carter’s congratulations
This big comeback was greeted by one of the big stars in New Zealand rugby, opener Dan Carter, double world champion (2011, 2015): “Bravo New Zealand. Professional sports live there for only a few minutes,” he tweeted shortly after the final whistle.
Congratulations New Zealand! Live professional sports with a multitude of people just minutes away. What do you like most about Level 1?
– Dan Carter (@DanCarter) June 13, 2020
Many sports competitions had already resumed before this Super Rugby Aotearoa, but behind closed doors or with a limited number of spectators.
Spectators appreciated finding their way back to the stadium in New Zealand, a country with 5 million inhabitants that was largely saved by the pandemic (22 deaths) and which lifted the final restrictions on Monday.
“It’s so good to be here. It’s the first time I’ve come to see a rugby match,” Pauline said, stressing that no matter the sport, she doesn’t like the thrill of swimming again. crowd.
“Watching live rugby with a crowd at the stadium is something I did not expect to see anytime soon,” tweeted Kaunda Ntunja, a South African TV commentator.
Watching live rugby with a crowd at the stadium is something I didn’t think I would see anytime soon. I’m bloody happy. I’m sure rugby fans all over the world have the same feeling right now.
– Kaunda Ntunja (@kaundantunja) June 13, 2020
On the ground, the show was at the height of the event. With a nice wink at the end of the game: Bryn Gatland offered the victory to the Highlanders at the expense of the Chiefs, whose coach is his … father, Warren, former coach of XV in Wales and the Lions British.