Big rugby mo­ment a thrill

Chron­i­cle jour­nal­ist Ni­cola Ste­wart was in Hamil­ton over the week­end to see the Chiefs win their first Su­per Rugby ti­tle.

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

As rain- soaked Chiefs sup­port­ers flooded out of Waikato Sta­dium on Satur­day night, I was hit with a strong sense of deja vu.

Al­most a year ago, I watched All Blacks fans brave the same muddy path af­ter a World Cup match against Ja­pan.

Waikato has seen some huge rugby mo­ments, and now, af­ter 17 years, the Chiefs have won the Su­per Rugby tro­phy for the first time, in front of a home crowd. And of course, it rained. An hour be­fore kick­off, with fat rain­drops fall­ing into our plas­tic cups of Waikato Draught, my mum and I took our seats near the try line.

A fa­mil­iar buzz of an­tic­i­pa­tion hung in the air as more than 25,000 fans made their way into the stands.

Chiefs fans dom­i­nated the crowd, with cow bells, red, yel­low and black war paint and Chiefs jer­seys fill­ing al­most ev­ery space.

I don’t think a sin­gle per­son was left in their seat when the 2012 Chiefs ran on to the field and fire­works filled the sky.

Adren­a­line was rac­ing as the Sharks started strong but the Chiefs fans never wa­vered in their sup­port.

With each try, the crowd grew more and more rau­cous and the at­mos­phere was elec­tric.

Even a few Sharks sup­port­ers cheered when Sonny Bill Wil­liams leapt into the crowd.

At the fi­nal whis­tle, the Chiefs play­ers’ex­cite­ment matched the crowd’s ex­cite­ment and I felt priv­i­leged to be a part of Waikato rugby his­tory

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