Growing up as the son of a South African father and a New Zealand mother I never had much of a choice but to love rugby. Throughout my childhood I would watch match after match with my parents and from a young age I was enrolled in rugby camps. This love of rugby has been extremely beneficial in my life as, although I was far from a standout, I have been able to play and watch the sport all over the world. One thing that I always wanted to do as a rugby fan however was go to Twickenham (the main rugby stadium in England), and I finally got the opportunity a few weeks ago to go not once, but twice in the same week!
My initial Twickenham experience was an interesting one to say the least. The world rugby sevens was in town and I headed out there with a few friends.
The only way to get to Twickenham from most of London is to take a train from Waterloo station. This is very convenient, but when you are heading out for an event it also tends to be rather congested. This was not necessarily a bad thing though as the rugby sevens provides a wonderful atmosphere. The theme for this round of the sevens was to dress as though it was the 1970’s, so after making a quick pit stop at Camden market for some pin stripped jeans, an afro and some aviators I made my way to Waterloo to board the train.
Having never been to the rugby sevens before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I quickly came to realize the true atmosphere of the day isn’t about the rugby but rather the people watching and the crowd. The rugby was excellent, and we were lucky enough to get moved to the front row, but it truly was about looking around, seeing all of the costumes and singing the songs. While this was a fantastic Saturday in the sun Twickenham was only about two thirds full and it wasn’t exactly the environment I had been picturing when I dreamed of going there. Fortunately, I only had to wait 7 days for the chance to engage in the full Twickenham experience.
The following Saturday three friends and I headed back out on the train, but this time for the Heineken Cup Final. For those unfamiliar, this is the rugby equivalent of the Champions League final and happened to be taking place on the same day.
The atmosphere for this match was far tenser as the two Irish teams took the field and the knowledge of the fans around us was very impressive. As the pictures below will indicate, Twickenham, while full, is quite an amazing place and the atmosphere as the tries are scored would be very difficult to beat.
I was very happy to get the chance to go to Twickenham not once, but twice, and I hope I can get there again in the near future; it was certainly one thing to cross off the bucket list!