Fervent Chiefs fans back their winning team

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 09:01 03/03/2014
Chiefs fans
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ

LOUD AND PROUD: Chiefs fans are back for another year of supporting their team, and they have come with noise.

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A lone blue, yellow and maroon jersey stood out like a sore thumb among a wash of red, black and yellow.

It attracted banter - a lot of banter. Cow bells rang, the Chiefs chant deafened.

This is Chiefs country and the back to back Super Rugby wins have not been lost on the passionate fans.

Thousands of them packed into Waikato Stadium on Saturday night to welcome back their team in the first home game of the season against the Highlanders.

When one stumble's upon a rugby stadium it's easy to expect the quintessential Kiwi bloke. Stubbies, supporters jersey, can of beer.

Not at Waikato Stadium though.

At the home ground of the champion Chiefs there is a lolly scramble of fans.

A baby no more than a few months old was swaddled in a red, black and yellow blanket, and topped with a mini Chiefs coloured beanie.

A woman of at least 85 hobbled in on a walking stick wrapped lovingly in Chiefs coloured crepe paper.

Three men with broken legs were scattered among the crowd, each cast was striped red black and yellow.

Every possible prop and accessory was utilised to show support. The fans have passion.

A boy of about six sat with his father in the second row of the stands.

A Highlanders player snatched the ball and he leapt to his feet.

He saw his team advance on the outsider.

"Smash him, bro!," he calls with more force than is imaginable from a boy with legs as skinny as his.

The call earns him a healthy pat on the back from proud dad.

Possum was back, of course, and the lone Highlanders supporter attempted in vain to drown out his "Go the Chiefs" call.

While the halftime scoreboard had the Chiefs down to the visitors, the spirit didn't die. These fans don't give up that easily.

With the full time whistle and a victory of 21-19 came an eruption.

The champion Chiefs are back.

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- Waikato Times

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