The Cairo Rugby Club is in the middle of arguably its most successful season, since its foundation in 1979 and the gospel is making significant inroads into the normally football obsessed Egypt.
There has been time for reflection recently at the Cairo Rugby Club house in Maadi, as members paid tribute recently to the memory of one of the Club’s founders, in fact, the real instigator of Cairo Rugby, Micky Wheeler.
Micky would no doubt be very proud of his early passion and vision as the Egyptian Rugby Football Union ERFU, has now been formally accepted as an Associate Member of both the African Rugby Confederation and the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Down the road this will mean that ERFU will be able to compete for a place in the Rugby World Cup.
Along with the Maadi-based Cairo Rugby Club, the American University in Cairo (AUC) and Alexandria Rugby Club are all hosting regular matches.
It is at the grass roots level though where rugby is seeing significant growth.
Cairo Rugby Club has weekly training and matches for the Under 10, 12, 16 and 18 age groups.
The Cairo Rugby Club’s Under-16 and Under-18 teams played over the weekend matches hosted by El Alsson School, Harraniya, winning the Under-16 and going down to a spirited El Alsson team in the Under-18.
The Cairo Rugby Club’s senior team also competed, dispatching Alexandria 44-3.
Over the weekend the Under-10 and Under-12 played in a tournament in Abu Dhabi. At the opposite end of the age-spectrum, the Old Crocs (veterans [over-35] team) will be representing Cairo Rugby at the Dubai Sevens from November 27-29.
Rugby is also beginning to grow at the British International School, Cairo, where a large number of boys are picking up the game during their activities period.
Autumn is truly rugby season in Cairo, as it is that time of year when rugby’s superpowers travel to the Northern Hemisphere to take on the home nations, France and Italy.
For Cairo’s rugby fraternity this means hunkering down in their favorite club house, dressed in their national jersey, supping beer, analyzing the controversial new laws of the game, reminiscing over their own careers and that “miracle try they scored back in the day.
Here’s the schedule for next weekend (C.L.T):
Ireland vs. Argentina: 16:15
England vs. South Africa: 16:30
Scotland vs. Canada: 16:45
Wales vs. New Zealand: 19:15
France vs. Australia: 22:00 My own clubhouse preference is the BCA in Mohandiseen, where the big screen action is accompanied with succulent Cumberland sausages. Pound for pound, the BCA Mohandiseen still has the best quality food and service in Cairo.
The BCA Mohandiseen is always throwing some whacky party or another – very social lot they are. Next on the agenda is their Old Cairo Night – Casbah, Thursday Nov. 20.
“This is downtown Cairo of the 1930s. Dark, narrow, twisting alleyways where intrigue and thick, aromatic coffees blend in equal abundance, says their press release.
The heady scent and thick blue clouds of shisha smoke. The rhythmical and seductive notes of an exotic, yet strangely familiar tune, hangs heavy in the still night air, before it slowly, silently and snake-like writhes along the labyrinth of dimly lit thoroughfares.
The week after, Nov. 28, is the BCA Heliopolis Christmas Ball at the Marriott Hotel and as I understand it, there are very few tickets left.
December and Christmas is fast approaching. The Cathedral Bazaar appeared to be very successful as I picked up a few trinkets for the stockings on Friday, and many of these are still on sale through the Sudanese Shop at the Zamalek Cathedral.
One Christmas event which is well worth the effort is the Christmas Carols at the British Ambassador’s Residence on Dec. 1. Tickets (LE 10) are available through either the BCA in Heliopolis (Tel: 2291-8533); or Natasha or Laura at Mohandiseen (on: 3749-8870).
Zamalek’s Marriott hotel is also offering something special for the Christmas season: a wine and chocolate promotion. It probably says it all actually, but I’ll give you a few details anyway. The Marriott is pairing Chianti, Port wine, white wine and sauternes with dark, milk and white Valrhone Chocolate, beginning next week.
Autumn, I think it must be everyone’s favorite Cairo season, from the parties, to the shopping, to the great whether we have been having, despite my prediction of a winter chill arriving last Wednesday. It is time to kick-off the Christmas season.