The third rugby test between South Africa and England will be played at Newlands this coming Saturday.
Something magically exciting happens to a city, when it hosts a major international sports event. There’s an energy, a buzz, an expectation, in the offices and restaurants and malls and pubs, in the days leading up to the event. There is, among local rugby fans, a sharp and focussed reminder of why the green and gold brings back memories of past glory and the hope of future victories. There’s a realisation that, for 80 minutes this coming Saturday, the collective pride of thousands of South Africans is at stake.
What makes this year special is the leadership of Springbok skipper, Siya Kolisi, the first African black to captain the national side. His story is an inspiring one. Raised in circumstances in poverty in Zwide township near Port Elizabeth by his grandmother, a domestic worker, Siya began playing rugby at the age of 8. His father, Fezakele, played centre for a local township team and provided much of the coaching in those early years. At age 12 he was spotted by Eastern Cap veteran coach, Eric Songwiqi, who arranged a full rugby scholarship for Siya at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth. “Coming from the township not having a lot of money, and coming to Grey, your dreams start becoming much bigger because you have everything you need to be”, Kolisi says. “I started dreaming big”. He made the school and provincial under 19 teams, was acquired by the Stormers in 2012, and has never looked back. His is a story of inspiration.
It is, thus, with much anticipation that Cape Town welcomes the Springboks and their new skipper this Saturday. Riverside Boutique Hotel has a special weekend planned, for those guests who’ve travelled to Cape Town for the rugby, and are staying with us. A Go Bokke breakfast the morning before the test, transport to the game, a weekend dedicated to this festival of rugby.
We at Riverside join thousands of others in cheering for our boys.