International students in Cardiff found themselves caught up in school fever during the 2013 Welsh Varsity grudge match between Cardiff and Swansea universities.
The main event in a day full of sporting duels between the two universities was the Rugby Union match held at the Millennium Stadium and the students were eager to learn about and watch the Welsh sport.
Yaser Hamad, a student from Saudi Arabia who is studying sports physiotherapy at Cardiff University, told The Archer: “Wales is famous for Rugby but I don’t have any knowledge of it.”
Swansea were able to retain their Varsity title after sealing a 21-13 win over Cardiff despite going in 10-0 behind at halftime. Yaser watched the game and said: “This is my first time to watch a Rugby game. It’s exciting.”
Shujing Wang, a Chinese student who is studying international public relations in Cardiff finds it difficult to accept how rough the sport is. “It is too violent and I came here just to enjoy the atmosphere in the Millennium stadium,” Wang told The Archer after the game.
Her classmate Di Wang searched the internet for Rugby rules before the game. “I am still confused about its rules after enjoying this game. I am quite worried about players as they tend to get hurt during the fighting against their counterparts.”
Pubs across the capital were full of students throughout the day as they warmed up for the evening’s game, which kicked off at 7.30pm.
Before the game, emergency services had prepared themselves with a mobile treatment centre on St Mary Street, supported by St John’s volunteers, who treated walk-in patients and minor injuries. The Welsh Ambulance Service’s head of service for Cardiff, Bob Tooby, urged students to remain safe and responsible.
Before the second-half game started, one naked man rushed onto the field which amused the crowd before he was unceremoniously tackled to the ground and hauled away from the action.
The Welsh Varsity match has been an annual event since 1997 when Cardiff Arms Park hosted the game. For the past three years, the match has been played in the Millennium Stadium.