Home Sport The night the Warriors silenced the music at Loftus

The night the Warriors silenced the music at Loftus

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Loftus’ voice was boisterous at the start of their URC final against Glasgow Warriors but by the end of the evening, they had all lost their voice.

A Bulls fan during the 2024 United Rugby Championship Final match between Bulls and Glasgow Warriors at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria on the 22 June 2024. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, mBackpagePix

SHALL we call them the Red Hot Chilli Pipers?

Yes? Okay.

Well, from the moment Glasgow’s ‘Pipers’ came onto the field before kick-off, belting out their distinctive skirl, there was a festive air in the Loftus night that undulated with the fortunes of their team.

Of course, there was a heady mix of well trodden tracks on the evening – Bad Moon Rising from CCR, Robbie Wessels and his balle, and a mix of pop bangers, Afrikaanse treffers, and the rock classics proud and old.

None more so than the Cranberries’ Zombie, which has taken on a cult status since the Springboks’ World Cup victory last year, and the never-say-die Sweet Caroline. Kurt Darren remains a firm favourite, and ask any of those in attendance and they will swear that ‘Loftus Remains a Place On Earth’.

Later, at half-time, a pod of dancers in dinosaur suits jived to Beyonce’s country-western ballad about, presumably Texas, cowboys and crooks. And while they were at it, they moved to a bit of Jerusalema. The stadium burnt like fireflies to the musings of Coldplay. And the Bulls faithful celebrated them all.

“Waar is dit lekker? (Where is it nice),” the stadium announcer asked. “Hier is dit lekker, (It is here),” the 50,000-odd fans answered back, before their Comedy revealed itself to be a Tragedy.

On the pitch, the Bulls charged, while the Glasgow Warriors tempted fate and the wrath of their partisan surroundings.

At the end of the first half, they crashed over to open their account and besieged the Bulls’ fortress early in the second half in an act of defiance and in an effort to wrestle away destiny.

When replacement prop George Turner dotted down to score Glasgow’s 23rd maul try of the season – over three times more than any other team in the URC has done – and Huw Jones scored in the 63rd minute for a 21-16 lead, they becalmed the masses of the Eastern stand; quietened the Grand Stand, where a lonely Warriors supporter fist-pumped the night sky, and seemingly nullified the onlooking North and South stands.

The air was sucked out of the stadium when Jack Dempsey seemingly scored, but much to the relief of most in attendance, the TMO interjected. Suddenly, the music did not matter, the flag waving was less enthusiastic, too. An engrossing and tense final had arrived and Loftus found itself invested out of trepidation.

Queens’ We will Rock You crackled around the ground with 10 minutes remaining, but received a worried response with the Bulls back-tracking, the momentum squarely at the feet of the Warriors and the scoreboard 21-16 in their favour.

The jubilant singing and dancing of 70 minutes before had been replaced by desperate cries of ‘Bulle, Bulle, Bulle’.

A final dance occurred, the Bulls attempting to snatch victory in the last moment, but their efforts come to nought. I Love to Boogie heralded their defeat as the Warriors celebrated a valorous victory.

As Loftus emptied, gutted by defeat, the new URC champions surely continued that Boogie all night long.

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