South Africa know a lot of tricks and how to read their opponents play.  Added to this they have the easier pool draw of all – so should see them progress through the draw pool matches with no problems – although the match against Samoa promises to be a bruiser!  As 24th September will be National heritage Day in South Africa (which is also National Braai day!) , the Springboks will be looking to celebrate before that match against Samoa two days later.

Captain: Jean de Villiers

Players to Watch: I may be slightly biased as he plays for my team of Bath, but having seen him in action, Francois Louw will be a key player in the South African side. Also always great to watch in play is full back Willie Le Roux.

Dates of Pool Matches:

Saturday 19th September vs Japan – Kick off 16.45 – Brighton

Saturday 26th September vs Samoa – Kick off 16.45 – Villa Park, Birmingham

Saturday 3rd October vs Scotland – Kick off 16.45 – St James Park, Newcastle

Wednesday 7th October vs USA – Kick off 16.45 – Olympic Stadium, London

For more details on South African Rugby – http://www.sarugby.net

For full details of the Rugby World Cup 2015 follow : http://www.rugbyworldcup.com

What to Eat & Drink whilst watching the Springbok matches

Food:  With many different historical influences and different cultures in South African their cuisine is really a melting pot of flavours.  But for a party – one thing South Africans do very well is a BBQ – known as a Braai.  It can range from all sorts of meat (and indeed even fish – Snoek being the classic) – but also great sausages such as Boerewors. Also traditional and slightly strange idea is the Braaibroodjie – a South African BBQ’ed sandwich.   A fabulous snack for watching the match is Biltong – but don’t be put off if you’ve tried it before from a supermarket and left chewing it for hours – find a good supplier like the guys below – and give the various types a go!

Simply African Food Ltd have a great website to help source everything you need to start off your South African party and you can order on line. During the world cup they will also be doing special Rugby Braai meat selection packs.  http://www.simplyafricanfood.co.uk – The website also has an excellent Braai Master guide –  essential reading. I especially like the Do’s & Don’t such as  “Don’t sit back and tell the person braaing how to cook the meat. If you don’t have the tongs in your hand, then keep your opinions to yourself!”

South Africa also has a wealth of great natural products from seafood, through to honey and a wide variety of fruits.  The modern style of cooking is more varied and lighter than one would expect. For recipes suggestions, do buy a brilliant cook book  Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards” by Olive Hamilton Russell, who along with husband Anthony Hamilton Russell, own one of the most impressive wine estates of South Africa. The book has 50 recipes – all seasonal and show casing South African produce. To order a copy,  quote this reference at your local book shop or on line –  ISBN – 9781431700929

Drinks:

Beer:  Castle Lager is a classic and will always turn up at a Braai!  More interestingly, there are lots of craft breweries in the Western Cape – some of which are imported into the UK  – look out for Long Mountain Brewery or Wild Beast Brewery.  Check out some of the specialist beer shops on the Beer sources page. Castle is available at Majestic  – www.majestic.co.uk

Wine:  South Africa is going through a very exciting time in wine production. Historically it was known for two flagship varieties :  Chenin Blanc in the White Corner and for Reds – Pinotage.   But there is a much wider range of grape varieties to explore. Below are just a few suggestions currently readily available in the UK to enjoy at your South African Match party.

Whites:

Zebra View Chenin Blanc £8 (discount if buy two bottles).  Easy crisp fresh white with a slight spiciness.  Good value for a party.  Ticks even more boxes as is Fairtrade. Available Marks & Spencers. http://www.marksandspencer.com

Cornelia White  £10. Four grapes varieties – Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Verdelho – have been blended together to make this dry white,  which explodes with flavour in the mouth. Would work brilliantly with salmon on the Braai. Available Marks & Spencers. NB – M&S currently have a very exciting range of South African wines – too many to list here.

Bellingham The Bernard Series Viognier £11.87 – beautiful floral, aromatic  – pure apricots on the nose – a stunning wine.  Available The General Wine Company http://www.thegeneralwine.co.uk (who have a large range of South African wines) – and this one is cheaper here than in Majestic – good reason to support independent wine merchants!

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay £25 – £30. Perhaps not one for sloshing around at a Braii, but definitely one to indulge if the Springboks get through to the final stages.  Very elegant, Burgundian style with layers of mineral complexity – superb.  Available Majestic and General Wine as above.

 

Reds:

Porcupine Ridge Syrah £7.99  – A good reliable spicy red which always is a crowd pleaser and works well at a Braai or simply glass in hand whilst watching the match!  Available at Waitrose. http://www.waitrose.com

Warwick Old Bush Pinotage £12.99 (on offer currently).  There has to be a Pinotage in my recommendations, as it symbolises South Africa for so many people. This one from the fabulous Mike Ratcliffe at Warwick has everything in bags – chocolates notes combined with gorgeous black fruit.  Available at Morrisons  https://groceries.morrisons.com

Jordan Cabernet Merlot  £10.99. A huge mouthful of jammy black fruit from a brilliant wine maker. Just the thing for the Braii or to pair with those chilli infused Biltong crisps from Simply African Food (see above). Available Majestic as above.

Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir £25 – £30. I make no apologies for putting two wines in from this outstanding wine producer. Having had the pleasure of visiting the estate, the dedicated detail they put into their wines, shines through in the quality. This world class Pinot Noir has a seductive savoury-ness with notes of leather backed up by good fruit.  Available Majestic and General Wine as above.

Other wines to look out for:

Below are my favourite wine producers in South Africa – so do look out for their wines – and if you have any trouble finding them – do use this brilliant search facility which will show your local stockists and prices –  http://www.wine-searcher.com

AA Badenhorst Family Wines
http://www.aabadenhorst.com

De Wetshof Estate
http://www.dewetshof.com

Hamilton Russell Vineyards
http://www.hamiltonrussellvineyards.com

Jordan Wine Estate
http://www.jordanwines.com

Kanonkop Wine Estate Pty Ltd
http://www.kanonkop.co.za 

Klein Constantia (Pty) Ltd
http://www.kleinconstantia.com

Meerlust
http://www.meerlust.co.za

Springfield Estate
http://www.springfieldestate.com

Thelema Mountain Vineyards
http://www.thelema.co.za

Warwick Wine Estate
http://www.warwickwine.com

For more information on Wines of South Africa –  visit their generic site http://www.wosa.co.za/home/