Paris stations plastered with posters of Rugby World Cup heroes
A poster of Siya Kolisi takes pride of place at a Paris train station…
As South Africans gather in Paris, France, for tonight’s clash between the Springboks and Ireland in the Rugby World Cup, they will feel almost at home… with posters featuring their South African heroes like Siya Kolisi plastered around all major train stations in the City of Lights (and Love).
In fact train stations across the country are celebrating the Rugby World Cup, hosting pre-match events and handing out bonbons (sweets) and advice for foreigners as the SNCF (France’s state-owned rail company) is one of the major sponsors of the rugby. The players will make 70% of their journeys by rail, with 80 train trips. The SNCF group is also deploying 100 Keolis coaches and transporting equipment with four Geodis biogas-powered vehicles. The RWC has also attracted 450,000 rugby fans from foreign countries (including many South African expats) who will also be using the train stations… along with the 2.2-million French spectators.
SNCF says it is not only celebrating rugby, but the competing nations too. Up until 28 October, 30 train stations in 24 cities are hosting related activities, cultural tours, exhibitions and events that allow visitors to discover more about the 20 nations participating in the Rugby World Cup.
Each station is featuring a different country, with the Marseilles Saint-Charles station dedicated to South Africa, highlighting both ‘les Springboks’ as well as a focus on the country itself.
SNCF’s CEO said rugby mania has gripped France with the top question being: “Who will follow in the footsteps of South Africa, who won their third title in 2019, after 1995 and 2007?”
SAPeople captured the photos on this page in Paris this week – at Gare de Lyon and Gare du Nord, as well as in the quiet avenues of Paris which will come alive with cheers tonight! Ooh la la, we can’t wait!!
If you’re in France for the RWC, send us your photos: firstname.lastname@example.org