In the aftermath of the announcement that South Africa will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, you’ll hear a lot of crowing about how good it will be for our player retention. You’ll read the business reports about how it will boost the economy, and Francois Pienaar will point out that sport can foster national unity. But – let’s be honest – here’s why you’re really looking forward to the Rugby World Cup.
You’ll have more fun than a Millennial
It will have been 30 years. So if you were between the ages of 10 and 30 when the last World Cup was here, you will be between the ages of 40 and 60 when it comes round again. And you know what that means. That’s right, pal – mid-life crisis. So this World Cup, you’re gonna party like its 1995.
While enthusiastic youngsters will earnestly knuckle down to the festival of hosting a World Cup, you’re older now and more worldly. You’ve spent the past thirty years having your money and freedom and sanity being eroded by school fees, rush-hour traffic, politicians and gout.
This is more than just a sporting event for you. It’s an opportunity to liquidate some unit trusts, buy that Ducati Panigale, ride it to the top of the ridge overlooking Ellis Park where you will rip open your shirt and expose those burgeoning moobs to the southeastern Johannesburg of your past glories and shout: “BOKKAAAAAARGH!”
And, yes, watch a bit of rugger along the way.
Road trip to see Japan vs Georgia in Potchefstroom
Not because these two teams will emerge as powerhouses in the Group of Death and this clash will decide whether it will be England or Australia who will be going home. But because it’s the only game you’ll either get tickets for or be likely to afford.
It will be totally worth it, though. The Rugby World Cup is better than the Cricket World Cup because even the lowliest of pool stage games take on an aura of nobility and significance. It’s also better that the Soccer World Cup because it means more to the players, since international competition is the pinnacle of rugby professionally. And it’s better than the Olympics because it’s more fun to watch thirty sweaty men wrestle and grind in the mud than a team of honed synchronized swimmers perform spectacular feats in a pool.
Irishmen at your local
South Africans see a pub as a place to sneak off to for a beer at 3pm on a Friday. The English see a pub as somewhere to huddle for body warmth against the weather. The French see a pub as a symbol of trans-channel cultural imperialism. The Scots see a pub as an arsenal of pool cues for the fight in the alleyway. The Australians see pubs as boring and consider Argentinians, who drink wine in leafy parks, to be the most progressive in this regard.
But the Irish love a good pub and Irish people make a pub – any pub – good just by stepping inside. It is a scientific fact that any Irishman that has spent a maximum of two hours and thirty seven minutes in a pub will loudly and happily burst into song. So your 3pm Friday beers are about to get a lot more festive.
Pity about the Kiwis though. They will be in the corner, maintaining their dignity after yet another routine victory and ordering last round coffees. Black. No sugar.
The Chiropractor Club
Fiji. Tonga. Samoa. Individually a small and distant blip on the rugby union radar. But every four years these peaceful islanders turn into a sporting tsunami, playing with a ferocity and pride that has top-seeded coaches waking up in the middle of the night and phoning their families in daylight time zones to tell them that they love them.
This guy lifting the Cup after captaining the Boks to glory in front of a big, home crowd