Where to watch the Rugby World Cup in Joburg

03 Feb 2020
The Rugby World Cup 2019 takes place in Japan from September 20 - November 2. As ever the nation has high hopes that the mighty Springboks may yet again bring home the silverware and wherever you go in Joburg this month you'll find plenty of rugby on the TV screens.

Given the large time difference with Japan, most matches kick off in the morning, although if your team is winning nobody will judge you if you feel like digging into a celebratory drink before lunchtime.

Whoever you are supporting this year, here are some of the best places in Johannesburg to watch the rugby this month.


Saturday November 2 is race day at Gauteng's leading racecourse Turffontein Racecourse and in addition to all the action on the track in The Peermont Emperors Charity Mile, there's also a beer festival and a huge screen showing the World Cup final live. The match starts at 11:00 and gates open at 10:00 while the horse races are run throughout the afternoon. Tickets to the ground for the day cost R80 and include a free beer.

The piazza at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton has gone all out for the Rugby World Cup final erecting a huge stage with its own massive screen. Note that seating is limited so it is advisable to arrive early.

The Pirates Rugby Club in Greenside are screening this year's Rugby World Cup matches live on a massive screen which has been erected on the club's astroturf football pitch. There's limited seating inside the clubhouse (booking is recommended) while if you want to get the best benches in the shade outside overlooking the big screen we advise that you arrive at least two hours before the match starts.

Melrose Arch will again be screening all the Springboks matches live on its two giant outdoor screens as well as all the Rugby World Cup finals. If you were in Joburg during 2010, this open-air piazza with its huge screens likely holds a special place in your heart - it truly was one of the best official fan parks of the 2010 World Cup. The convenient layout (you get a great view from almost everywhere), massive HD screens and an abundance of places to eat and drink always make this a winner. 

The colourful, retro African-chic Milk Bar at George Lea Park in Parkmore went all out with its phenomenally popular football World Cup pop-up 'soccer village' in 2018 (there was arguably no more atmospheric place to watch the big games last year) and the sporting fun returns again for the rugby with early morning live screenings happening in the Milk Shed venue. There's a full breakfast menu and in recognition of everyone's need to enjoy a lie-in on a weekend hangover they'll also be repeating matches in the afternoon on the big screen.

The official Absa Boktown fan park is back and happening at three Joburg locations - Montecasino in Fourways, Gold Reef City and Silverstar casino in Krugersdorp. As ever expect massive screens showing all the Springbok games, plenty of promotions, legions of fans kitted out in their Springboks colours and an all-round festive and family-friendly atmosphere. 

Our favourite downtown craft brewery Mad Giant at the 1 Fox Precinct in Ferreirasdorp have long been massive rugby fans and any time there's a major Springboks match on, these guys always bring the party. This Rugby World Cup head down to Mad Giant to watch all the big Springboks matches live in HD and partake of some extra special happy hour deals on drinks throughout the match.

MTN are the official sponsors of the Springboks and the mobile phone operator is hosting a special fan park on the piazza at Newtown Junction. The fan park will be screening the opening Springboks vs All Blacks match on Sat Sep 21 at 11:45 and the quarter-final (Oct 19 or 20), semi-final (Oct 26 or 27) and final (Sat Nov 2).

For the final of this year's Rugby World Cup 44 Stanley is putting up a big screen in one of its courtyards and all your favourite cafes will be open serving drinks and refreshments including the popular bar Calexico who are hosting the big screen in front of their venue.

Boasting one of the longest bars in the city (more than 14metres) this sophisticated Braamfontein den has low-lit banquette seating, moody graffiti murals and tons of plasma TVs with the capacity to show several sports events at once. An added bonus is the huge beer garden courtyard in the back.

The bar at this historic hotel in Troyeville first opened its doors in 1939. In walking distance of Ellis Park Stadium (now Emirates Airline Park) the restaurant and bar is loved by hardcore rugby fans who usually like to drop by for pre and post-match beers when there are big matches on at the stadium. If you are searching for the company of serious rugby watchers with an encyclopaedic knowledge of every player on the team, you'll most likely find them propping up the bar here.

Although the surrounding area has seen better days, this historic pub is well worth making the effort for. Opened in 1929 as a tea room and secret shebeen, nowadays the Radium is famous for its mouth-watering Portuguese cuisine. The old-fashioned interiors, complete with a 120-year-old mahogany bar counter propped up by a motley crew of regulars, add to the pub's eclectic unique charm making for an atmospheric spot to watch the games.

One of the oldest bars on Melville's famous 7th Street bar strip, the Mozambican bar Xai Xai may be a little rough around the edges, but special drinks offers on the classic brandy and coke plus a dedicated crowd of local Springbok fans make for a lively atmosphere.

The atmospheric old-fashioned front bar area at this quiet neighbourhood pub in Craighall Park is often the most popular place to hang out and watch sports no matter the event and has numerous TV screens. If you need to see the game on the big screen the large restaurant area to the rear also has a projector.

​A suburban strip mall isn't the most inspiring venue for a pub, but it does afford lots of space. Seat yourself outside on the large terrace or in front of the bar inside - there are screens everywhere. This pub has a boozy atmosphere and really fills up so expect things to get wild once the Springbok shooters come out.

Watch all the action on the big screen inside Cresta shopping mall where The Cresta World of Rugby Fan Zone also includes a special kids zone with interactive VR rugby games. 

Where to watch the Rugby World Cup in Joburg


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