It Rained Down On Africa(n) Rugby Fans
Weather Doesn't Dampen Namibian Supporter's Festive Mood In Game Against Italy
Hanazono, the hallowed turf that hosts the National High School Rugby championships, reached another milestone on Sunday - hosting a Rugby World Cup match.
Fans began arriving early in festive spirits. Hundreds of volunteers greeted them, lining the road from Higashi Hanazono station to the stadium.
The massive Stonehenge like plaza outside the stadium was abuzz with excited fans, sporting the colors of a variety of teams.
One brave local was shirtless with a blue Namibian shirt painted on his skin.
Italy, the African nation’s opponent on the day though seemed to be winning the battle of bedecked fans.
There were a lot of families among the crowd with young fans quick to name their favorite Brave Blossom.
The host nation wasn’t playing on this occasion though so the mostly Japanese crowd was relaxed and unstressed about the result.
They came just to enjoy the spectacle and absorb the World Cup atmosphere, though long lines at merchandise tents and heavy rain made conditions tough in the exposed stadium.
Some Namibians in attendance were hopeful that their team could get a first ever win.
Nervous about the two middle games of the pool, versus the All Blacks and South Africa, they felt this game and the final one against Canada were those they had the best chance of winning.
Many fans when asked why they chose to attend this game in particular, answered it was all they get.
Not that they were unenthusiastic.
DHL was handing out yellow placards with TRY on them and more than an hour before kick-off, one worker had already exhausted his supply.
- Dean Gutberlet: Sept 22, 2019