A South Africa rugby match is a whole other world
The contrast between the highly-controlled environs of the soccer World Cup venues and the likes of Cape Town’s Newlands stadium, home to a South Africa v France rugby test on Saturday, was marked.
At Newlands, the supporter is king. For decades fans have turned up early with their own food and lit hundreds of barbeques, or brais as they are known in South Africa.
The wafting smell of smoke and sausage signals that the stadium is in range and is sure to quicken the stride of the arriving masses.
Every brai party is of course accompanied by groaning ice boxes of beer and wine and the story is similar at the country’s cricket grounds where scores of permanent brais are supplied along with bargain-priced “meat packs.”
The media are treated to a complimentary pre-match lunch, drinks and even a bag of the local dried meat delicacy biltong to munch during the match.
Things are somewhat different at the World Cup.
Licensed products, particularly expensive fast food, are the only business in town and anyone considering sparking up his own cooking fire would probably be arrested as a security threat.
The media are charged $10 for a burger and chips and almost $2 for a bottle of water – with no tapped alternative available.
One thing freely available at the soccer, and completely absent from the rugby where no one is complaining, is the vuvuzela.
Other differences at the rugby compared to the soccer include no security searches, no long queues, no strong police presence and no incidents.
It really is a whole different world.
PHOTO: France’s David Marty breaks past South Africa’s Wynand Olivier (C) and Morne Steyn during their international rugby match at Newlands in Cape Town June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings