URC record crowd attendance at Loftus

The crowd at Loftus for the URC clash between the Bulls and Stormers.

Local URC attendance record smashed at packed Loftus

Loftus was packed to the rafters, with URC chiefs confirming a record 41,205-strong crowd turned out for the derby between the Bulls and Stormers on Saturday.

URC record crowd attendance at Loftus

The crowd at Loftus for the URC clash between the Bulls and Stormers.

URC chiefs have confirmed a record crowd of 41,205 turned out at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld, the biggest attendance for a league match in South Africa to date.

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It was the biggest attendance for a URC league match in the country for what turned out to be a titanic tussle. And it all made for a fantastic occasion, with the reigning champions turning round a 12-3 deficit to win 23-19.

They claimed tries through back row men Marcel Theunissen and Junior Pokomela, with fly-half Manie Libbok landing five shots at goal, while the Bulls’ one touchdown came from winger Sbu Nkosi.

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Commenting on his team’s crucial URC win, Stormers coach John Dobson said: “I’m very proud of the character shown by the team. We knew the level of motivation and desperation for this game and that the first 20, 30 minutes would be really tough.

“At 12-3 down we were under the pump, but the way we stayed in the fight, got into the lead at half time and then started the second half was magic – and then the character at the end. That’s what this team is about, what happened in those last 10 minutes, and I’m so proud of them. We were defending so well. There was just this desperation to defend to win.”

On his team’s next URC challenge, Dobson added: “We have the Sharks game next and if we get that right we’ve got a clean sweep of the local derbies, which would be brilliant for us.

“We probably need another win from the last four games to get the SA Shield, which 

I’m sure we’ll get and that’s important for us.“You want to be the best team in South Africa and we’re getting very close to that, given our results. If we can win the Shield two years in a row it’ll be a great feather in the cap for this union and the team.”

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In the other South African derby, the Sharks pulled away in the second half to claim a 29-7 bonus point URC victory over the Lions in Johannesburg and maintain their bid for a playoff spot.

Flyhalf Curwin Bosch contributed 17 points, including the first of their four tries. The Sharks now turn their attention to next Saturday’s rearranged meeting with Ulster in Durban, while the Lions will host red-hot Glasgow.

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Bulls against Stormers in URC 18 Feb 2023
The Bulls carry the ball up against the Stormers. Photo: Gallo Images.