Rugby and beer are synonymous and, with alcohol currently banned in South Africa, pineapple beer is expected to be fashionable amongst some Sharks supporters for Saturday’s Carling Currie Cup final.
The Bulls and the Durban-based franchise will tackle each other for top honours at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria at 3 pm.
Pre-Covid-19, the stadium would have been packed to the rafters with supporters donning the blue of the Bulls or the black and white regalia of the Sharks with big beer jugs in their hands as they cheered the players.
The tournament is even sponsored by a beer company, Carling Black Label.
While some Sharks faithfuls have managed to stash some beer or wine for Saturday, some will have no choice but to resort to home-made beverages at home.
Others have plans for small braais, confident that the Sharks under the leadership of coach Sean Everitt and skipper Lukhanyo Am will upset the Bulls.
Sharks’ ardent fan and chairperson of the franchise’s supporters club George Laas said the game has brought back to him memories of the first time Sharks won the Currie Cup in 1990 when they were still known as Natal.
The match was at Loftus Stadium and they played against the Northern Transvaal (now the Bulls) where the visitors won 18-12.
“On Friday we would have been on a bus or something going to the match, but we are not allowed at stadiums or to gather,” said Laas.
“In the 1990 final things weren’t as rosy and we were underdogs just like this weekend, but our team was performing, and we took 14 buses with hundreds of people to Pretoria and it was just something awesome,” he recalled.
Another diehard Sharks fan Duncan Grant said he will be watching from home with his family and a couple of friends.
“We will have a bit of a braai afterwards. I’ve saved a bottle of wine, hopefully we can celebrate with that later,” he said.
Mike James, the father of former Sharks flyhalf and Maritzburg College oldboy Butch James, said luckily, he had some beer that he saved before the ban.
“And they are nice and cold! You can’t watch rugby without beer,” he said beaming with confidence that his men will bring the title home despite the underdogs tag.