The smell and smoke of grilling boerewors laced the air and beery fans sang and bantered good-naturedly. On the field though, things would not be as friendly and happy. In rugby terms, Canada and South Africa hardly have a history, but they will always be entwined by what happened the first time the sides met on a cool night in June 1995.
The two teams are set to meet at a Rugby World Cup for the second time in the enclosed Kobe Misaki Stadium, 24 years on from that night, which became one of the most infamous in RWC history.
On Tuesday 8 October, under a roof in Kobe, the occasion is the final Pool B match of the competition for both teams. The Boks need to win to guarantee quarter-final qualification.
In 1995, under clear Eastern Cape skies, the occasion was the final pool match for both teams. And the Boks needed to win to guarantee quarter-final qualification. Hopefully, the comparisons end there.
The old Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth was the venue for the spiteful encounter belying PE's moniker as the "Friendly City". Even then, some 15 years before it was finally decommissioned, the venue was a...