Durban - The Rugby World Cup was months into the future when Northlands Primary School staffer Carol Hockley discovered a box of 460 South African flags, last used for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, while clearing out a storeroom.
The flags found a new life at the entrance to the school yesterday as the school’s 1 100 children, staff, and parents waved them, dancing to iconic South Africa songs – Jabulani, Impi, Hier Kommie Bokke, and Jerusalema – to wish the Boks a successful final tonight.
Smoke billowed from a braai, offering everyone a boerewors roll in mutton, beef and halal versions: sustenance before entering the hall for assembly to shout “Go Bokke” loud enough to be heard in France.
The Durban North school has held a string of Rugby World Cup assemblies, at which rugby coach Colin Eales has kept them in the loop of the tournament, explaining things like the pool section and the knock-out section.
Yesterday’s energised assembly involved a quiz for each grade: who were the captains who have led the Springboks in winning the World Cup in the past? How many times have the Springboks beaten the All Blacks in a World Cup final? And more...
Eales himself expects the Springboks to win by four points.
“It’s going to be an incredibly physical match,” he predicted.
His first team hooker, Vuyani Ndovela, expects a 15-13 victory to the Boks and “a lot of kicking”.
Scrumhalf Jett Roberston reckons it will be 15-8 with Handré Pollard making everything happen in the Boks’ favour.
Eighth man Heino Scholtz gives his favourite team the same number of points, but the All Blacks only five.
“There’ll be lots of knocks in the pouring rain.”
Jisarnia Chetty, 13, whose favourite Bok player is captain Siya Kolisi, gave the national team a 50-0 win in her prediction, while her contemporary Leone Matthysen thought they would win by 20 points.
Leah Pretorius thought they would keep up their trend of winning by one point.
The memorable morning gave way to a normal school day after the whole school assembled on three storeys of balcony passages for a final rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.
Various venues in Durban will host fan parks, among them Gateway, Galleria and Pavilion shopping centres and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
Countless restaurants will offer meals, drinks and DJ-guided entertainment.
The Independent on Saturday