Ellis Park feels like home for the Springboks, says Marvin Orie

South Africa's lock Marvin Orie runs with the ball during the Rugby Championship first round match between South Africa and Australia at Loftus Versfeld stadium

Ellis Park is the ‘real home’ of the Springboks according to lock Marvin Orie who was speaking ahead of his side’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina at the famous Johannesburg stadium. Picture: Wikus de Wet/AFP

Published Jul 27, 2023


Marvin Orie was two years old when the Springboks beat the All Blacks in the epic 1995 Rugby World Cup final at Ellis Park, but he knows his history well enough to understand the significance of that nation-building match.

Orie knows the stadium like the back of his hand — he played for the Lions for four years — and he says there is something unique about a packed Ellis Park.

“The special thing about this stadium is what happened in the World Cup in 1995. What that did for not only rugby in South Africa but for the country itself is incredible,” Orie said ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship match against Argentina.

“I perceive Ellis Park to be the home of the Springboks,” the 30-year-old added. “Most countries have one main stadium where their national team plays most of the time. In South Africa, we have many good stadiums, but Ellis Park always feels like it is home of the national team.

“Being at altitude is also a big challenge for the opposition and luckily for us we have been training up on the Highveld for a while now, so we will look to take advantage of that on Saturday.”

Orie has everything to prove in this final fixture of the year for the Boks on home soil. There is huge competition at lock and the current squad will be cut to 33 on August 8.

“There is a lot of competition and that can only be good for the team. Quite a few of our guys have played more than 50 Tests and JK (Jean Kleyn) has played for the national side in Ireland,” explained Orie.

“So we push each other every day in training. The competition in many positions is high but I don’t want to think about trying to secure my place in the World Cup squad.

“That’s not what rugby’s about. Rugby is about the team and I have to do my job to help improve the level of the team. That is what I want to do this weekend.”

Orie will be partnered in the second row by Eben Etzebeth, who will be earning his 112th Bok cap, passing John Smit’s tally of 111, to become the fourth most capped Springbok.

“I am incredibly inspired by a guy like Eben and what he has done for South African rugby for so long,” said Orie.

“He is an inspirational guy for all of us, hence the captaincy against the All Blacks. His calmness helps me immensely. When there is a bit of a scuffle some people might think he doesn’t look calm. But in other stuff, he is incredibly calm. It comes with experience, he has done it over so many matches, and rubs off on everyone.”

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