Easily one of the most eagerly awaited days on the Cape Town sports calendar, the Cape Town Sevens (more correctly known as the South Africa Sevens) is ridiculously popular. Grabbing tickets is a tricky affair, but if you manage to land a couple, then go you absolutely must.
My dad and Ryan asked me to join them for last year’s addition, the second tournament within the 2017-18 World Rugby Sevens Series. Seeing as I had up until then never been to a sevens tournament before, I eagerly said yes. Best decision ever!
Using the free pass guaranteed by our tickets, we parked in the city itself and grabbed a MyCiti bus to the gorgeous Cape Town Stadium, where after a short walk and a very slick gate operation, we filtered into the stadium and grabbed our seats.
We were there for the last day of the tournament (i.e. the most exciting day), and thanks to a particularly easy first round draw for South Africa’s Blitzbokke (namely Kenya, France and Russia), our team safely navigated their way to day 2, top of Pool A and ready take on Fiji in the first quarter-final of the day.
It was actually quite interesting to see first-hand. You see, the Cape Town Sevens isn’t popular because of the rugby itself, but rather for the massive amount of fun and atmosphere it generates, which means then that other than when the Blitzbokke are playing, the large majority of people are for the most part actually outside (in colourful costume), listening to music and catching some sun with drink FIRMLY in hand.
However, as soon as the South Africa team ran on to the field, the stadium would almost immediately fill up as the crowd grabbed their flags and started roaring in local appreciation. As it was, South Africa and Fiji put on a fighting game, ending with the Blitzbokke trotting away with a 31-26 win.
Next up was a clash with New Zealand, but sadly this battle did not go the partisan crowd’s way. Despite the thousands of waving flags and much, much cheering, the islanders put in a great effort, downing our local heroes 19-12.
That loss did of course leave a bitter taste in the mouth of most people there, meaning that the final, literally the last game of the day, played between New Zealand and Argentina (which New Zealand easily won) wasn’t as well supported as what it should have been. That said, thankfully the Bronze Medal Match between South African and Canada was still good enough to invoke a good old stadium roar.
Just as well that we won that then. (For the record, South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla ran out as the tournament’s top try scorer with 7 tries under his belt).
It was a very, very long day of quick, try-filled rugby. Loads of action, almost no down time to speak of, and plenty of festival atmosphere all around – in other words a thoroughly enjoyable day out and something which I can now fully appreciate the hype around. I liked it.
(And a very windy night time walk back to our car. In fact, we saw a lady get blown down some steps. She was more concerned about her skirt than anything else. It was kind of hilarious – if it wasn’t for the fact that the wind was sucking the hilarity out of pretty much everything around us!)