Record crowds toast Super 14

The players may still be cursing a second week in February start to the Vodacom Super 14, but the paying supporter in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa showed that no game of rugby union can come sooner, with record crowds recorded.

The biggest crowd of the day went to those in Bloemfontein, who backed the new Super 14 franchise with a 40 000 turn-out. Disappointingly, the poorest crowd on week one was the 26 000 that paid to watch the Sharks beat the Chiefs in Durban.

More than 230 000 paid ground entrance money to watch the first weekend’s matches, with an average attendance of 33 500 — another record high.

In 1996 13 000 watched the Blues beat the Hurricanes in Palmerston North and 10 years later 35 000 pitched up to watch the Hurricanes destroy the Blues in Auckland.

Another big turnaround was in home form. In 2005, four of the six home teams won, whereas at the weekend just two of the seven home teams were successful. The Blues, Force, Cheetahs, Reds and Cats all crashed at home.

Crowd attendance

Cheetahs v Bulls
Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein

Reds v Waratahs
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Force v Brumbies
Subiaco Oval, Perth

Blues v Hurricanes
Eden Park, Auckland

Crusaders v Highlanders
Jade Stadium, Christchurch

Cats v Stormers
Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Sharks v Chiefs
Absa Stadium, Durban
26 687