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Not only was it the Stags’ first match of the season at its home ground, it also Eli’s first match as a spectator.
His grandfather, Arthur Adlam, said Eli loved to watch rugby and play with a rugby ball, so it was a wonderful opportunity be able to take him to his first game.
"It is great to be back here in the park as it is a completely different atmosphere than watching the games from the TV. It is much more fun," Mr Adlam said.
Rugby Southland marketing co-ordinator Jack King said it was "one of the biggest crowds" of the past few years and the fans made the difference.