As a team that is over 10 000km away from its hometown, the Crusaders expected to contend with a partisan crowd as they square off against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday, but will have a decent smattering of red shirts cheering for them.
The men from Christchurch have not been to the Mother City since March 2013, when they ran off 19-14 winners in the middle of what was somewhat of a dry spell in terms of Super Rugby titles.
Their loyal away supporters have been dubbed the “Cape Crusaders”, and are not entirely popular among the local rugby fans and, at times, players as well.
The Stormers’ last victory over the Crusaders dates back to 2010, just a year before the home side were unsettled by a group of locals in the visitor’s famous red ahead of a round-robin encounter.
“That was quite an experience at our home ground,” former Stormers and Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is quoted on the Supersport website.
“We arrived at Newlands in our bus and we were booed and jeered. It wasn’t the usual welcome we were used to.”
Jean de Villiers
The hosts will definitely not be too keen on such a welcome but, according to Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar, the visitors are relishing the prospect of thrilling the locals in red.
“We have seen a lot of the supporters at the hotel and around the city and it has been wonderful,” he said.
“People are keen to support the Crusaders and that support is something we are proud of, of the sides that have come before us and the people that have represented our team before we have this year.
The Stormers and the Crusaders kick off at 17:05 on Saturday.