Lessons from the Rugby World Cup

2011-10-29 00:00

A FEW vital life lessons taken from my recent trip to New Zealand to take in the quarter and semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

Waikanae, just north of Wellington, is dentist heaven. Pack your high-pitched drills and move.

Do not use camper vans as your out car when playing road-trip traffic in New Zealand. Allan Donald scored more runs in Test cricket than you will in this game.

Do not take a wrong turn that takes you through Fear factor farming country when driving from Auckland to Wellington after 27 hours of flying, unless you want to hear the skeletons in the closet of so-called lifelong friends. In fact, do not add the nine-hour drive to Wellington to any sort of flight into Auckland from South Africa, even the seat next to the cooler box in the camper van loses its appeal after hour three.

Do not take to the bed above the driver in a camper van when on a road trip of more than seven minutes. At best you will vomit from motion sickness worse than any seen on any sea-faring craft, at worst you will die from injuries sustained from being thrown around like a tiger moth in a hurricane. Do take the double bed at the back of the van, though.

If you cannot speak Afrikaans and are not dressed in green and gold from head to toe, do not take the train from Waikanae to Wellington.

Learn about how the other half lives at the Waikanae Sports Bar. At worst you get cheap beer and a chat with someone who knows a lot more about rugby than Peter de Villiers, at best you get shown a tongue and belly button ring attached to an aunty that will not be in next year’s Miss World line-up that comes with an offer on how best they should be used, on all seven of your fellow camper vanners!

The Wellington Rugby Stadium really does look like a cake tin.

Pack beanies, scarves and ski jackets for those in your party not watching from the enclosed press box at the Cake Tin, unless you really enjoy hearing how cold it was while watching the rugby for the entire train trip back to Waikanae.

Don’t wear only slip-slops, shorts and a T-shirt to the Whakapapa Ski Resort.

Play only with bright-orange balls on the Whakapapa nine-hole course, and pack clothing for snow, rain, wind and warm sunshine, seriously.

If camper vanning with a snorer, pack industrial earplugs, or many rotten tomatoes, or both.

If you have a fear of pooing in public places, do not camper van.

If in need of feeling like De Villiers at a World Cup coaches’ meeting, turn up at a communal camp-site kitchen with your steak, braai salt and a roll. Jamie Oliver has nothing on these freaks.

Lake Taupo, much like the rest of the country, is simply beautiful, and you can pay a dollar a ball to try get a hole in one on a human-made green 104 metres into the lake.

Beer one at noon in the Wellington fan zone for a 6 pm game can only end in tears, beer one at noon at a braai at a house 42 metres from Eden Park before a 9 pm game can only end in blood.

Britomart is indeed the central public transport hub in Auckland, and there is no need to get off a train from Eden Park to Britomart (and catch a bus downtown) simply because you have no need for shopping at a British Makro.

You and your bank manager need to be tighter than Kobus and Toks if you are to drink beer with the Cheerful Chunkies in New Zealand, it was $9 for a Heineken at the Wellington fan zone, and we are talking R6,7 to $1, my friends. Speaking of beer, it’s bloody hard to find a beer you like and stick to it because the pubs all stock different draught beer. Do not ever drink Steinlager Pure though — unless you like your beer tasting like Oros.

If you need a good cry, stand up for the anthems at an Ireland vs Wales game, or watch Jock Hobbs give Richie McCaw his 100th Test cap. If shaky on your anger management, do not drink beer with people in yellow after watching the Boks lose to the Aussies at the Cake Tin.

Do accept beer from those in black who believe the Boks were robbed and that the New Zealand public had been cheated out of what would have been a monumental semi-final.

Do anything you possibly can to go to a Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, it is a life-altering trip that is worth every single cent.

And you thought this might be about Bismarck du Plessis vs John Smit or Brian Habana vs Francois Hougaard ... sorry.

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