Victor Matfield had a smile on his face that seemed to stretch from the one side of the Cape Town Stadium to the other as #SuperHeroSunday took South African rugby into a whole new universe with an explosive kick-off to the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby season at the Cape Town Stadium this past weekend.
The ground-breaking partnership between SuperSport, SA Rugby, Vodacom and Marvel was unveiled before a sell-out crowd that embraced everything #SuperHeroSunday had to offer in a double-header featuring the Vodacom Bulls, DHL Stormers, Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions.
“This is exactly what you want as a player – to play in front of a crowd like this,” said Springbok legend Matfield who joined other rugby stars such as Marius Joubert and Breyton Paulse, former footballers Ryan Botha and Neil Winstanley, and other super hero cycling enthusiasts on the side of the field in aid of CHOC (the Childhood Cancer Foundation).
Between the CHOC cyclathon and the #TacklingCancer campaign that will see Vodacom and SuperSport together donate R100 to CHOC for every tackle made by a South African player this season, a total of R61 827 was raised on #SuperHeroSunday alone.
And through the sweat of the kilometres Matfield was piling up for charity, he expressed his delight at a new concept that had clearly struck a chord with South African rugby fans.
“What a fantastic day. I think it’s so needed and we had to look at other options to bring people back into the stadiums,” he said to the backdrop of a Mexican wave sweeping around the stadium and fans dressed in their best superhero kits.
There was almost a World Cup atmosphere as first the Emirates Lions in their Spider-Man kit beat the Cell C Sharks, donning their Black Panther strip, 19 points to 14, and then the Thor-inspired DHL Stormers produced the match of the day as they beat a Captain America-themed Vodacom Bulls 33-28.
“I think it’s going to be a great season with a start like this,” said Joubert. “It’s such a big year for rugby with the Rugby World Cup, and what a great way to kick it off like this.”
“What a phenomenal day, and we were out there doing something for our CHOC kids as well,” added Winstanley.
The fans were treated to not only a unique double-header of South African rugby that many are now calling for to become a regular fixture in the local game, but a festival atmosphere that did indeed make for an explosive start to the season.
Such was the atmosphere that before kickoff in their match against the DHL Stormers, new Vodacom Bulls signing Duane Vermeulen stood on the side of the field closest to where Matfield and the sports celebrities were cycling for cancer. The two Springboks gave each other a big thumbs up in what must be the most superpowered endorsement of a day that has changed the face of South African rugby.