Following the Boks to the Aviva and Twickenham

November is always a wonderful month of the year here in the UK with the Springboks visiting on their annual (formerly) end of season tour. Every November they play three or four Tests against a combination of the four home unions – England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales – and Italy and France and over the now 10 years I’ve been living here I’ve followed the boys to many of these games. Weekends following the Bokke with some of your best mates are wonderfully special.

This year we were playing Ireland, France, Italy and England and I was fortunate to head to Dublin and then to West London for our first and last games.

Early start from Stanstead!

It’s a super quick flight to Dublin and always a wonderfully fun weekend in the Irish capital. Alongside the ‘usual crew’, special friends I’d been on many wonderful trips with before, I would also be catching up with Hallsy, an old friend from the Cayman Islands who now lives just outside Dublin, and Darragh, a local Irishman who I met many years ago in India and have been on many rugby trips with since. After dropping our bags, we headed to the first of many pubs for a few pints of Guinness and a late breakfast / early lunch.

The first of many!

Ireland were then the 2nd best side in the world and after their historic debut series in New Zealand they were definitely favourites. This was their first home Test since beating the All Blacks and there was a special atmosphere round the Aviva as the anthems were played.

Anthem time

It was a very tight first half with the sides trading 2 penalties apiece to leave it locked at 6 all. Ireland would score twice after the half to lead 16-6 before the Boks bounced back with a try to make it 16-11. With under 10 minutes to play, Johnny Sexton slotted his third penalty and Ireland were back to a 2 score lead (19-11). A late try from  Kurt-Lee Arendse was unfortunately too late and Ireland would walk away 19-16 winners.

Hallsy’s debut rugby game

Three weeks later the Boks were closer to home and we were headed for Twickenham. Like last year, we kicked things off with a delicious breakfast braai at VH and from there walked across to Twickers. With a 82,000 capacity, it’s a grand place to watch rugby and the Boks were looking for their first win here since 2014.

Cracking afternoon and an uuuunnnnbelievable Bok performance

What a performance it was and a phenomenal way to end the international season. The Boks dominated in the scrums, were rock solid at the line outs and competed brilliantly at the breakdown. We also threw the ball around a little more and even scored a try from our own 22 as Kurt- Lee Arendse went one way then the other to leave Marcus Smith grasping at thin air.

Well chuffed with our 27 – 13 win

It was a special afternoon for us Bok supporters and as we loudly made our way out of the ground , yours truly enjoyed 20 seconds of fame… BOKKE!!!

Click below …

20 seconds of fame (8 seconds in)!


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