Action and Entertainment at the Jozi Tens Rugby Tournament
Right up front, I’ll admit that I’m not the world’s greatest rugby fan. Despite living in South Africa for nigh on 30 years, my English football roots are still strong. So much so that, on any given weekend, you’ll find me avoiding rugby like the plague and focusing instead on willing Liverpool to win a match, any match.
Now that you know this, you’ll understand my trepidation at the thought of attending the inaugural Jozi Tens rugby festival. A spin-off from the mightily successful Cape Town Tens festival (the biggest Tens rugby festival in the world), the Jozi Tens festival kicked off on Friday 14th September, fittingly with dark, heavy skies reminiscent of a Cape Town winter. Not knowing how 7’s Rugby differs in rules to regular 15-man rugby, the explanation that Tens rugby “is the same as 7’s, but with 10 men”, didn’t help me in the slightest. What I didn’t realise is that the Jozi Tens wasn’t just about the rugby, it’s an entire entertainment experience.
7 players, 10 players, 15 players – it doesn’t seem to matter, there are crunching tackles at every turn and, every so often, the ball will pop out from under a pile of men and be tossed to a nimble-footed giant who dashes down the line to score a try. The entire Jozi Tens tournament is geared around entertainment. Games are a mere 10 minutes per half and provide much more “running rugby” action than a regular game.
On the pitch, the players were out to win, but still managed to keep in the social spirit of the game by donning colourful wigs and massive American flag hats. With team names like “Disco Ninjas”, “Southern Faakers” and the “Zamalek Zulus”, you just know the object of the weekend was fun. However, it was the flatly named “MK Rage” team that ultimately beat the SA Rugby Legends in the final, doing what every other team had failed to do – steal points off some of the grand old dames of South African rugby.
However, it is the action off the pitch that provides the most entertainment at Tens rugby. Think music festivals, beer festivals and a beach party all rolled into one. Sadly, the “beach party” aspect didn’t materialize at Jozi Tens – perhaps it was something to do with the hail and rain on Friday night and the chilly temperatures on Saturday, but there was a distinct lack of bikini babes and shirtless jocks.
The beer hall action kicked off on Friday night with awesome live music provided by Me and Mr Brown, covering rock classics from across the ages. These guys have cemented their reputation at the Cape Town Tens tournament and they had most of the beer hall up on their feet, dancing like nobody was watching.
DJ Sox threw out the dance tunes as the hall filled up with party-goers, many dressed up for the “Tight and Bright” dress-up competition. And tight and bright many of them were. Fluorescent colours abounded, as did tighty whitey shorts, but my vote of the night had to go to the Morph Suit men. Anybody brave enough to wear a fluorescent body suit deserves a prize. Ard Matthews and Gareth Cliff both kept the Friday night party going and there’s no doubt there were going to be some very hungover rugby players on Saturday morning.
The Jozi Tens was a fabulous entertainment experience for the whole family and there is no doubt that, like the Cape Town Tens, it is going to cement its place on the Johannesburg sport and entertainment calendar. For those that can’t wait another year for the action, get yourself down to Cape Town for the 2013 tournament, on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd February. Blue skies, cold beer and hot bodies are guaranteed!
Many thanks to Getaway Magazine who sponsored our attendance at the 2012 Jozi Tens tournament; however, as always, all opinions and viewpoints are strictly our own.