x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A perfect place for barbeque and dance

Second home The Sharks are the smoke-and-mirror merchants of South African rugby.

The Sharks are the smoke-and-mirror merchants of South African rugby. They have won just a single trophy in a dozen years and yet their King's Park stadium in Durban rocks like no other rugby venue. Situated in sight of the city's golden beaches and away from the grimy city, King's Park is where fans come to party. Pre-game, supporters are welcomed by the famous Sharks cheerleaders who keep the crowd entertained. Pretty girls abound in the crowd.

Then there is the push-up crew, among them a dwarf, who get the crowd geed up by doing push-ups on the field every time there is a score. Sharkie, the cheeky team mascot, is there to pump up the crowd and to niggle the visiting team's mascot. The stadium itself contains a nightclub that kicks into life after the game, although the real action takes place on the iconic "B Field" afterwards. This is where thousands of people unpack their braais (barbeques) and their drinks and celebrate (or commiserate) long into the night.

It is a tradition that is the envy of every other rugby union. You miss it, you miss out. There's also a mobile stage which pumps out music and accommodates the players, who traditionally visit, chat to the crowd and joke around. People whoop it up and the banter flies: a great way for fans to connect with their heroes. The players might knock lumps out of each other on the field, but inevitably they share a few drinks afterwards and get stuck into the party.

King's Park - it is a stadium every true fan has to visit at least once.