Seeing a rugby match live has always been something I have wanted to do. Although it was something I was saving for my upcoming visit to New Zealand, I was happy to experience this bucket list sporting event while in Cape Town. Little did I know I was crossing this off at one of the most historic stadiums in the world.
We had just checked into O on Kloof, a very modern and welcoming boutique hotel in Cape Town’s Seapoint neighbourhood, when we decided to check out a Cape Town Stormers game. We had intended on enjoying our O on Kloof room and the area it sits in but a look at the Stormers schedule proved to be the only night we could catch a rugby match at Newlands. Shame as O on Kloof is a special place. With cozy rooms, an on-site spa, and ocean views from the bar it was hardly the place to pregame from but there we were, drinking champagne while searching out the best way to get to Newlands.
Newlands Stadium is appropriately located in the Newlands area of Cape Town just next door to the SAB Brewery – fitting as we convinced the newlywed couple we had met there the day before while on our Super Cool Beer Tour to join us. Getting to the grounds proved easy as we used Uber. With traffic it came to about $25 from the opposite side of town, a low cost for getting to the worlds second oldest rugby stadium. Completed in 1890, Newlands Stadium has hosted several historic matches including the opening game of the 1995 rugby World Cup – a game South Africa took over Australia. And now it has the honour of hosting very first rugby match.
We arrived at the gate to find a lively scene. Colourful fans and beer gardens along with vendors selling braai and street food lined the path to the box office. We waited in line for about 10 minutes to secure our seats, which came to about $10 each. With tickets in hand (and the bubbly from O on Kloof wearing off) it was time for a beer.
I know very little about rugby but I am a sports fan through and through. I’ve been to football games in South America, basketball games in several cities across North America and even have a Super Bowl under my belt (another tick for the bucket list) so how hard could following rugby be?
Very. Turns out very.
Thankfully we were seated with some friendly locals that were happy to fill us in (and share their snuck in booze) The game was great with the home team slightly edging the Durban Sharks which made my experience catching a rugby match at Newlands that much sweeter.
To our surprise, after the rugby match at Newlands guests were allowed to step on the field. Although it wasn’t as sentimental to me as stepping onto the Boston Celtics hardwoods, this part of experiencing my first rugby match at Newlands was pretty cool. It also allowed time for other fans to exit meaning getting out was less congested.
Once outside we found chaos trying to get a cab, as you would after any sporting event, so we downed a pint (or 3) at the Slug and Lettuce across the street to kill time and let the crowds disperse.
Tips on Catching a Rugby Match at Newlands
All in it was a great night catching a rugby match at Newlands. Seeing my first rugby game was made that much more special at this historic stadium in Cape Town. For those looking for tips on watching a rugby match at Newlands here is some practical info:
Rugby Match at Newlands Good to Know
Stormer schedule: See here
Ticket Cost: Starts at ~$6
Tips: arrived early, stay late to avoid crowds.
Lansdowne location: See map.
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Although I was provided a complimentary night at O on Kloof while I enjoyed my rugby match at Newlands,
the experience, opinions, and hangover was my own.
Well done! Rugby really is great and not hard to pickup. Hard to play but not hard to pickup!
Ha! I couldn’t even imagine playing Harly. I grew up playing basketball. That was enough contact for my body.
Rugby is a tough sport to figure out if you are not used to it. Pretty simple in the end though, less rules than American football!
Agreed TJ. I will pick it up next time!