Saracens on fire

Rump on the braai, Jack Parow playing in the background, cold beer flowing liberally – it could have been a regular braai anywhere in South Africa. Except it wasn’t in South Africa, but St. Albans, just outside of London, home to the bulk of the South African players at top rugby club Saracens. Ethienne Reynecke, the former Lions hooker, hosted the braai as part of the build-up to National Braai Day, and his team-mates turned up en masse: Schalk Brits, Neil de Kock, Ernst Joubert, Derick Hougaard, Brad Barritt, Mouritz Botha, Jacques Burger, Deon Carstens and Petrus Du Plessis. Which, given the presence of Jan Braai and Dan Nicholl, meant a collection of chiselled athletes on show…

Jake was wrong after-all. Schalk is wearing Springbok colours.

Also in attendance was model Minki van der Westhuyzen, who confirmed that she maintains her figure by eating nothing but braai; on holiday in London, she was quite happy to drop in on Ethienne’s house for an afternoon round the fire. Saracens braais are regular features of life in London for the rugby stars, but this Sunday’s was one of the best: great meat from the Earlsfield market, good weather for London in September, and a group of mates enjoying the simplest of South African pleasures.

Jan had to significantly lower his standards, and braai some vegetables for Minki.

There were lowlights: Deon Carsten’s karaoke wasn’t quite in the Toks van der Linde class, and Brad Barritt’s insistence on playing Justin Bieber was a little worrying. But with bowls of pap accompanying some great rump, and Schalk Brits joining us later in the day armed with his usual beaming smile (he’d had to open a shopping centre earlier in the day, and had been swamped by fans for photos and autographs), it was a great South African day in London – and a precursor of the braai that Saracens will be having on September 24 in celebration of National Braai Day.

Saracens Squad delighted to meet up with their idols, Jan Braai and Dan Nicholl.

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