In anticipation of tomorrow’s Vodacom Cup, in which the Golden Lions take on the Griquas, I am recounting my very first Lion’s Rugby game.
It will be forever etched in my mind as the time my girlfriends and I somehow convinced half the Lions team to take photos with us. I’m still not sure how we did it. The only thing I can attest to was that they were super sweaty and happy because they won!
For those who aren’t familiar with the teams, The Lions (red) are Joburg’s team and The Stormers (blue) are Cape Town’s team. The match they were playing was for the Super 15, which kind of sounds like the playoffs in American football.
I’ve been living in Joburg so of course I was supporting the Lions!
As the game ended, we realized we were on the perfect side of the stadium to try to get the players to take photos with us. The entrance to their locker rooms was right to the left of us. “I want a photo with a Lion!” I said. We ran down to the front row and as the players came off the field my friend Sian yelled, “She’s American, can we have a photo!” And they say Americans are the loud ones. 🙂
We got one, but then we got a little bit greedy. Cue the Lions photo shoot that followed:
It was so much fun. I will gladly watch a rugby game again, and preferably a Lions game. We love Francois (faf) de Klerk who we nicknamed “Faffles.” He is just the cutest and super fast!
Here is a little cheat sheet for any foreigners going to see their first rugby game!
You’ll want to be comfortable. This is not a fashion show and unlike college football in the SEC, you’d better leave your sundress at home. Must people wear their teams’ jersey, and if you don’t have one, wear their colors if you have them! And bring a sweater/cardigan. South African nights can get a bit chilly.
Get to know the people you are watching the game with and some of the other fans! Rugby can be a little confusing, and South Africans be more than happy to teach you about the game. It’s a great way to make friends!
Do half-time right
Don’t go to the toilet at half-time. Avoid it at all costs. It will be packed. Go either 5 minutes before or after. This allows you to watch the silly half-time show where someone wins a cooler.
Food & Drink
In rugby, drinking and eating before the game is very similar to the American tailgating. There are plenty of beer and food tents. Bring cash for this and if you are planning on drinking *ahem* in excess, get a few beers at once. The lines are long.
Pay Attention! Rugby is much more fast-paced than pretty much any other sport. No dilly-dallying around for timeouts and ref decisions. They are all about getting the show on the road. This also makes for some incredibly sweaty rugby players.
After my experience I will forever be a Lion fan! Best of luck to the players in the Vodacom Cup!