David O’Sullivan on rugby grub

03 October 2011 - 03:29 By David O’Sullivan
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now

A dedicated rugby follower offers his thoughts on good things to put in your mouth while putting in hours in front of the TV.

As I sit down to write this brief piece of advice on what to eat at Rugby World Cup matches, the game between South Africa and Namibia is about to kick off, and my credibility is already shot.

I've burnt the microwave popcorn and the air is thick with acrid smoke. So here's my first piece of advice: no popcorn.

Let me state from the outset that if you're reading this column in the hope of discovering some fabulous gourmet secrets that I might be keeping to myself, you're in for a crushing blow - like Namibian fullback Chrysander Botha who has just tackled a rampaging "Beast" Mtawarira.

You see, I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to rugby grub, rather like the very nature of Springbok rugby. I don't feel there's any need to change a pattern that was established by our rugby forebears and that has been handed down through the generations. Biltong, chips, peanuts and beer were good for our rugby-loving ancestors, and they're still good for us today. There was no microwave popcorn in the days of Frik du Preez and Jan Ellis. What was I thinking?

I realise the early starts to Rugby World Cup matches do pose a problem. Some of the games start at 4am, for goodness' sake. Who really wants to crack a cold Hansa that early? Unless, of course, you're still going strong from the night before - in which case, crack on. You'll sleep it off after the full-time whistle in any case.

Despite the robust objections from my old Rhodes University mates, a cold frosty at 4am is a bit harsh, but (as the Springboks score a flurry of tries against the hapless Namibians, upsetting my train of thought) I'm hard-pressed to recommend an alternative.

Orange juice is for breakfast. Champagne in the orange juice is for weddings. Coca-Cola, cream soda, ginger beer and any type of Fanta are all for children. Water is not an option. OK, so maybe try a beer.

When it comes to biltong, droëwors is acceptable. Chips can mean cheese curls. Peanuts means peanuts - not pistachios, not almonds, not cashews. Peanuts. Salted ones. Oh, all right, with raisins, if you must.

What to eat after the match? Well, it might be 6am, and I'm anticipating the braai coals will be ready. Tradition dictates that a skottel should be frying up large amounts of wors and chops - good for breakfast, lunch or supper, or in between. A couple of eggs won't upset the equilibrium. Rather like throwing the ball to a winger every now and then, but not too often.

And there you have my culinary advice. Like Springbok rugby, it's simple, traditional and effective. But now that the Boks have thumped Namibia 87-0 in their tried-and-tested way, I must admit the result is slightly disappointing. Rather like my plate of half-devoured snacks.

Maybe I should explore the option of vol-au-vent and canapés for the Samoa match .

  • David O'Sullivan is presenter of the Afternoon Drive on Talk Radio 702, rugby presenter on SABC Sport and a Lions rugby fan.
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now