With both of the South African Super 14 teams winning their semi finals, we have an all South African final to look forward to. This is big news for the whole of South Africa and a cause for great national celebration. Everyone has forgotten about the horrendous crime statistics. Everyone is overlooking the corruption and nepotism rife in government. The millions who are living in shacks with no electricity, heat or running water are out dancing in the streets. Even HIV has decided to take the week off and enjoy the run up to the game in Durban on Saturday.
Well no, not quite. But that’s what the newspapers would have you believe.
So, who will you support on Saturday – Sharks or Bulls? That’s the 64 million Rand (US$9,195,402.30) question and fortunately, we’re here to give you the background on the teams and their fans so that you can make an informed choice. As if you care.
The Bulls are the Manchester United of South African rugby. Successful, but disliked by the masses. They are rather like a large political party. Based in Pretoria, their fans tend to be white, Afrikaans, loud-mouthed and have disastrous taste in home furnishings. They all drive double-cab bakkies and have never cooked a meal indoors, preferring instead braaikos (literally “BBQ food”) prepared oor die kole. And that braaikos consists of red meat. Just red meat. Huge great chunks of red meat. Washed down with beer. And some red meat. No true Bulls supporter (male or female) weighs less than 120kg.
Yes, they have that arrogant, superior streak which no-one really likes, but it is almost justified: like it or not, they support a pretty good team.
And then The Sharks. If The Bulls are like a political party, The Sharks are more like a cult. In order to join the cult, you need to have some connection with Durban. Maybe you live there, maybe you were born there, perhaps you once visited. Possibly you share a letter in your name with one in the word “Durban” – it really doesn’t matter – you can still be a Sharks fan.
Everyone likes The Sharks, not just because they’re the coolest team to support, but perhaps because previous to this season – and despite their name – they have been no real threat to any other team. The Sharks’ fans live all over South Africa – seemingly with the exception of Durban – and they have the coolest badge to stick on your car. I know these two facts because I see 74 of them on my way into work each day.
Actually, I don’t know why I’m bothering with all this analysis. For the neutral rugby fan, it simply all comes down to who has better cheerleaders. So here’s three reasons why the Sharks would be getting my support this Saturday if I wasn’t watching the disappointingly cheerleader-free FA Cup final.
Now all I have to do is explain to my wife how I managed to upload pics of some scantily clad girlies, but not those of our only son’s first birthday.
If I don’t post again for a while, at least you’ll know why.