In view of the Hillbrow Tower in downtown Johannesburg is the Ellis Park Stadium, home of the Lions rugby team. We went there on an outing with some Wycliffe colleagues. One of them had received some free tickets that they shared with the group. This was our first time attending a rugby game.
The Lions were playing the Bulls, and red and blue team flags were waving all around the stadium. Rugby is very popular in South Africa. We saw Invictus earlier this year–a movie set just after the end of aparthied that featured the Springboks, the South African national rugby team. The final game of the 1995 Rugby World Cup featured in that movie was played in this stadium.
Rugby is an intense game with regular scoring and constant action. Between the swift tackling (with no protective pads!) and the occasional altercations, sometimes it looked brutal. The game consists of two 40-minute halves. Unlike in American football, there is no break after a tackle; the play just continues until someone scores, the ball goes out of bounds or there is some infraction. Rugby is played in several other African countries including Kenya.
Overall, we quite enjoyed our first experience with South African rugby.