Lions flank ROELOF SMIT recently travelled around Europe with his three best friends. He explains how the trip came about and why it was so special.
I play a lot of Fortnite, an online shooting game, and was addicted to it at one point in my life! My three best friends and I play it almost every night.
Let me tell you a bit about them. Justin Forwood plays rugby for Soyaux Angoulême, a Pro D2 team in France. He is getting married this year and I’m his best man. Johan Meyer plays for Italian club Zebre in Parma; we call him ‘Plank’ because he’s as clever as a plank. And then there’s Christiaan Wessels, who lives in Secunda and travelled with me to Europe.
Anyway, every time we play Fortnite, Justin and Johan ask when I’m going to visit them, so I had to make a plan.
One day, I decided to surprise them, so I booked the flights and everything (I phoned Justin and Johan’s wives first to check my friends’ schedule because I didn’t want to go there only to find out they were busy).
Christiaan and I went to Italy and I instantly fell in love with Parma. It is so beautiful! The culture and food are just insane and everything is so unique.
We then went to Paris before returning to Italy. We explored various cities, which was incredible.
I took three important things with me – my PlayStation, which I used to play Fortnite; and my elastic bands and rugby boots, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to gym but still wanted to train.
I’ve obviously travelled overseas before for rugby, but this was my first time for a holiday. When you’re with a rugby team, you only get one day off a week and don’t really get the opportunity to actually explore the city you’re visiting.
This was a really special trip for me because I was able to spend time with my three best friends. Rugby players are always busy so opportunities like this are rare.
I really had a great time and what a privilege it was to travel around Europe with my amazing mates!
As told to Lerato Mkhondo