After kicking off its Varsity Cup campaign with a 31-3 victory over the University of Johannesburg on Monday, 29 January, Maties Rugby played its first home game in Stellenbosch on Monday, 5 February.
More than 15 000 fans flocked to the Danie Craven stadium to cheer on their team and they were very pleased when FNB Maties beat Shimlas 56-21.
For the players who made their home-ground debut in the Varsity Cup on this occasion, it was a moment they will treasure forever.
Cornel Smit, Brandon Valentyn and Elden Schoeman were three of the players who represented the maroon machine for the first time in the Danie Craven stadium.
It was a very emotional evening for Valentyn.
“Have you ever walked into a place and immediately felt at home and comfortable? That's what it felt like running out onto the field for my first home Varsity Cup game in a packed Danie Craven stadium. It is by far one of the most amazing feelings I've ever experienced!
“When I heard 15 000+ supporters singing the national anthem with the team it was impossible not to shed a tear. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to the energy the crowd brings already."
Smit said: “It was an awesome experience playing in front of a packed Danie Craven stadium. The atmosphere was electric, and I couldn't have asked for a better home debut! I can't wait to do it all again next week."
Schoeman added: “It was a great privilege and experience to make my Maties debut in the Danie Craven stadium. As an outsider you always look forward to playing against Maties in the Danie Craven, but to play in the maroon jersey in a home game is even better! I haven't seen so many fans and experienced such a vibe during a match. It was one of my rugby career highlights for sure."