Despite the fact that the preceding ‘opening’ party was a bit of a damp squib, the main two days of the Cape Town Tens attracted a huge crowd of people. I once again found myself at Hamilton’s Rugby Club, which enjoys the spectacular view not only of the natural landscape of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, but also the architecturally stunning Cape Town Stadium. It was enough to make me feel sentimental as I elbowed my way through the people thronging to buy tickets, and then, once in, shuffled incrementally towards a drink in the beer tent.
There were plenty of attractive women and loads of stylish guys, with enough branding on them to start an ad campaign on their own – not entirely the normal rugby crowd. In fact it seemed as if there were two separate events happening. There were those who wanted to watch some ten-a-side rugby, and there were others who apparently saw this as an after-party for the J&B Met the previous weekend. But once over the distraction of the female contingent, I found the games made for good spectatorship.
Many of the rules for 10-a-side remain the same, despite having five forwards and backs. But the 10 minutes per half created fast-paced, energetic matches among the teams taking part.
There were a staggering 56 teams in all, broken down into three divisions: The Premier League, the Vet League and the Beer League (anyone else think that sounds like the start to a slightly amusing joke?) Action took place across three fields, with very well planned seating for spectators, and featured some great sport. Celeb players included Warren Brosnihan and Dave von Hoesllin as well as the organisers of the event, Bob Skinstad and Rob Fleck.
The players appeared to have a good time both on and off the field, and the winners were resoundingly cheered by all. The Stellenbosch Maties successfully defended their title against the UCT Ikey Tigers in the Premier division. CNCF International Legends managed to beat the Elan SA Legends in the Vet League, and the Maties Cravens beat the False Bay Rangers in the Beer division.
Post-game entertainment was furthered by live music by UK band The Lightyears and Cape Town band Me and Mr. Brown keeping the spirit up late into the night. Given the crowd and the party atmosphere I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that some other venues were a bit emptier than usual that evening.