Making the most of the World Cup
Rugby lovers in countries like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, England, and others are spoilt. They can watch every World Cup confident that their team will not only be there, but make it through the first rounds. There are upsets, but at least the fans can commit. Those of us from countries not obsessed with rugby, however, struggle to get invested.
Rugby is a rather niche sport, in that it is not nearly as global a sport like football. It is very localised. Going into the World Cup as a neutral is not nearly as exciting as supporting a strong team with hopes of winning it.
There are, however, ways to enjoy the World Cup as a neutral, getting invested in various teams almost as much as a committed fan.
Follow your heritage
One way of finding a team to get behind is by following your heritage. Did your great-grandparents live in England? Support the land you came from.
If you don’t have a strong heritage or many ideas of where your ancestors came from, you can try an at-home DNA test kit. These test kits use your DNA to find out exactly where in the world your ancestors lived, including their migration patterns. Finding your heritage can be a fun way of choosing a team to support throughout the tournament.
To truly get excited about every single match, taking part in a bracket or draw can really do the trick. By using your extensive knowledge to make predictions, you can test yourself and make a bit of money. More importantly, you get to show your friends just how intuitive you are.
When you’ve filled out a complete bracket, you have a team to get behind in each match. Your allegiance to one team is irrelevant. It’s exhilarating when the teams you tipped to win actually follow through, especially when it is a bit of a wildcard. You’ll feel the joy of every try, the agony of a missed penalty, and the schadenfreude of seeing certain teams lose.
Join an expat supporters club
Just because your country is not that into rugby doesn’t mean there aren’t dedicated supporters. In fact, every country has a large number of expats who care more than anyone about their national team. They have expat supporters clubs that meet at particular venues or sports bars to watch their team. The vibe is incredible, as the strong camaraderie builds quick friendships. They’re always willing to take in newbies who just want a team to support and convert you to their cause.
Watching with supporters is the best way to enjoy the World Cup outside from actually being at the event. When the supporters themselves are in a foreign country, the excitement is incredibly palpable, as they connect with their love of their home country and really get behind their boys.
Chances are, you’ll get so involved with the club that you’ll keep coming back even after the World Cup ends. Sports really bonds people, no matter where they are from. You might just make a few new friends.