Upon arriving at Wembley Stadium yesterday afternoon, we were a bit perplexed by the number of green, black, and gold jerseys. Crowds of Northampton Saints's fans made their way to London for the Big Day Out, hosted by the Saracens. The event, which attracted an impressive 44,832 people, offered tickets at £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s in an attempt to create a few more rugby lovers.
Although we were disappointed not to see any camel racing (which was banned at the last minute), we thought Diversity, this year's winner of Britain's Got Talent, put on a fantastic show. Youngsters all around us grinned as one of the group's youngest members somersaulted through the air and landed on his feet to compete in a slow motion race to the theme of Chariots of Fire. A bit later, the one camel allowed into the stadium (the mascot), repelled from the top to present the ball to the referee.
After the first half, the Saracens led the Saints at 9-3. During the exciting second half, the Saints made several ambitious attempts to break through the Saracens's defence. However, the Sarries managed to stay on top with a spectacular run of the field from Noah Cato. The last two minutes had us all on the edge of our seats as the Saints came marching back to almost tie up the game. Unfortunately for the Saints's fans, video referee Dave Matthews ruled in favour of the Saracens when Northampton's Soane Tonga'uiha appeared to make it over the try line in the 79th minute. The final score was Saracens 19 Saints 16.
Overall we had great fun watching the rugby and felt good vibes all around. However, we're not quite sure that all the spectacle is what's going to bring in new fans. The Sarries certainly have strong players but the team, as a whole, waited for the scoring opportunities to come to them. Perhaps with a bit more fight and a few more victories under their belt, the Saracens won't need abseiling camels to encourage supporters to 'stand up'.
Words by Caroline Dickie, images by Suke Driver