This is Africa: It’s a Bull rush en route to the stadium


It will take only a few moments for our Brumbies tour rookies to realise we’re the enemy when we board our bus to Loftus Versfeld on Sunday morning.

Pat McCabe

April 20, 2012

The drive from our hotel in Pretoria to the stadium is one of the most daunting experiences for any rugby player.

I have vivid memories of my first trip to Pretoria to take on the Bulls.

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I couldn’t hear anyone yelling abuse directly at me, but you can feel the hostility from the moment you arrive in Bulls territory.

It was just my second Super Rugby game and my first international match with the Brumbies.

I heard about the hostile reception, but nothing could prepare me for the real thing.

As you drive to the stadium, fans line the street cooking barbecues before the match.

And when they see the Brumbies bus roll past, they have no hesitation showing their passion for the Bulls and their distain for anyone who dares to dream of victory.

Some guys prefer to ignore it, but I like to embrace the rugby-mad culture.

To beat the Bulls we need to match their aggression and prove we can beat teams outside of Australia. This will be our biggest test as a team.

After our strong start to the season, our two-game trip to South Africa will give a true indication of where we sit in our revitalised group.

Travelling to Jake White’s home is an experience every rugby player should go through.

It’s a completely different world here.

The road rules are almost non existent, rugby is a way of life and almost every job is done at half pace.

Our tour got off to a rocky start when we arrived on Monday afternoon.

After a delayed flight out of Sydney, we spent more than an hour in the customs line waiting to have our passports processed.

But as Jake says, this is Africa. Jake’s enthusiasm for being back in South Africa is rubbing off on the group and we’re hoping his inside knowledge will help up us shock the Bulls.

I love life on tour with the team.

It’s a chance to get away from all distractions and focus solely on rugby and performing as a group.

The worst part is having to listen to Ben Alexander whine about missing his girlfriend and him telling us about how much time he spends on Skype checking in.

My roommate for the first three trips of the year has been Peter Kimlin. In my time Benny A has to be the worst roommate because he is asleep every time you see him and Matt Giteau is the best.

I was relieved when I saw I was with Kimmo again because it gave me a chance to get away from my flatmate Scott Fardy.

Fards scored two tries in our win over the Melbourne Rebels last weekend and the two nights at home before we flew to South Africa were torture.

He couldn’t stop talking about how many defenders he shrugged off and how he was going to be our top try-scorer this year.

– Pat McCabe is an ACT Brumbies and Wallabies centre

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  1. Nice spirit in the side…

    Not cool

    The road rules are almost non existent, rugby is a way of life and almost every job is done at half pace.

    But ja… first world problem…

  2. Reply to DavidS @ 2:37 pm:

    I reckon having a South African coach taking these youngsters into Africa for their first tour is a huge bonus…

    Hehe… I never quite get used to it when I come back to visit… 300 plus staff across the info desks, retail outlets etc etc most doing fokal… it’s hilarious… cracks my wife up every day…

    And on the flipside of humorous… the drink driving (my old friends too), speeding, potholes, unlicensed vehicles etc etc also an eye-opener…

  3. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 4:21 pm:

    Blue light brigades by over-important
    drivers for inflated mieniestaas of
    gavvamunt who are always an hour or
    two late is the worst.
    They’ve recently killed several pedestrians
    and others.

  4. One of the best quotes I’ve gathered
    about Saffa crowds is this letter by
    a Welsh tourist to his wive.
    The occasion was the first Test against
    the British Lions, Ellis Park, 1955.
    Attendance 92,000.

    “The roar of an Afrikaans crowd cannot be repeated unless it be with a full orchestra. It’s full throated & seems to tear the vocal chords asunder. Just a lion-like roar, without words & quite like a jungle sound. It not only chilled my blood, I felt a horror creep over me at its bestiality. When the Springboks are pressing they start up a chant, roaring ‘NOU NOU NOU.’ The ferocity & menace in their voices is a part of sport beyond my ken.”

  5. Reply to Boertjie @ 5:00 pm:

    Awesome… it amazes me how that many could fit into the grounds… a while back I was watching the 73 (I think) test between Boks and Wallabies in Brisbane… same crowd of 90k plus…

    They should bring back that ‘NOU NOU NOU’ when they are ‘pressing’… LOL!