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Sprinbok Hamburgers and a Sharks’ Victory
When I first moved from South Africa to the UK, last year, I lived in Surbiton, Surrey. While there, we set up a satellite to watch the rugby and it was great fun listening to Bobby Skinstad do his thing as a commentator. To think I saw him running onto the field as a substitute player for the Sharks yesterday. Of course the SA teams did not do well in the Super 14 in 2006, and never mind the Trinations and the European tour of the Springboks, few said well.
So when we moved to Brighton, I decided to cancel our satellite subscription as we had a service provider changer and I could get out of the contract. Because apart from rugby I ended up watching food channels and I just felt that spending money every month to watch a food channel wasn’t worth it. In fact we haven’t had a TV connection since we moved in November last year. But that is another story.
So it was a big surprise that my team, the Sharks, and I have the car stickers and Sharks socks to prove it, ended up in the semis of the Super 14. What can one do? I tried Google to find out where to show the game. There are no answers at local stores. Out of desperation I drove to the SA shop. I needed mayonnaise anyway. This is what the Brits don’t know how to do. And yet the rest of the food that one gets is divine and very helpful in adding extra weight around the waist.
Yes, as it happens, the man at the SA shop is from Durban. So is the girl behind the bar at our local gastro pub which is about 200m from us. There are three South Africans working in the pub. Please note. They tell me that the broadcast of the game has been delayed, but it will be shown at the Walkabout which is Oz’s bar in Brighton city centre. I make sure no one sends me sms in SA.
On Saturdays we go down to the bar, and there are four bouncers at the front door. We are almost back home. However, the game is appealing and we enter. Smoking is still allowed in pubs. A little behind in that respect. It will be out on June 1st and I can’t wait. A year ago I wouldn’t have complained, being a recent convert to non-smokers. The staff at Oz are really friendly and we settle in to watch the game. I once drank Castle to celebrate the occasion. I have never touched things in SA.
We see the Blues running onto the field then the Sharks and the roar of the fans in the stadium is deafening. It’s really amazing, looking at the Shark Tank crowd. I would pay R20 and sit in the last or second to last row upstairs in the new seats. When you look down the stairs you have vertigo and a complete high of alcohol. And here I am in Brighton, UK, watching the game on the big screen in an Australian bar that serves Springbok or Kangaroo hamburgers and a full-sized crocodile adorns the stairs to the toilets. Oh.
There is a small group of South African fans, apart from ourselves, and we speak well when our team scores. There is a bit of grumbling in support of the Blues, but nothing major. It looks like the Blues have the support to deal with the South African fans. It’s an Oz bar after all. Well whatever, it’s amazing that we win, and in the end easily. Regardless of the outcome, New Zealand rugby is a joy to watch.
We went on to watch the Bulls game, the commentator says the crowd watched the Sharks win the big game and the roar of support went up. This rarely happens at Loftus. I’ve watched a Currie Cup game there wearing Sharks colours. Trust me it’s a scary experience. So that show of support was quite something. And it’s amazing what distance can do for a heart, I thought Steve Hofmeyr’s little number was an ‘ah bless’ moment. In the past I’ve always felt like the Bulls’ secret weapon in shutting down opponents.
Now of course the battle lines are drawn again. For the first time there will be a South African super 14 winner. Are we smiling? Oh yes. There is hope for the Rugby World Cup. Not that we humans can buy tickets to France to watch the game. So close, yet so far. You can only adjust the TV to this. Although the media is showing the game, the good news for us is that England are in the same pool as SA. It’s really fun to watch with a group.
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#Sprinbok #Hamburgers #Sharks #Victory