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.
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.
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