“Oggy oggy oggy… chiefs chiefs chiefs!” the crowd chanted, everyone suddenly rising and stretching their black flags, all emblazoned with the Exeter Chiefs logo, into the air.
The atmosphere was electric as the women’s rugby team marched out onto the field.
As part of a recent press trip with Visit Exeter, I was invited to see an Exeter Chiefs rugby game.
This was my first ever time watching rugby, and I learned a few things that I’d advise everyone to know before they take their seats at Sandy Park!
My ticket was provided complementarily, but all opinions remain my own.
Exeter Chiefs are really great teams
The reason why one of the best things to do in Exeter is seeing the Exeter Chiefs is that they’re both really exceptional teams.
The men’s team is the only English club that has won the top four tiers of rugby: the Premiership, National League 1, National League 2 and RFU Championship.
We saw the woman’s team, which were only founded in 2019, but have since taken the country by storm.
You’ll routinely find them at the top of the league tables: in fact, when we saw them play against the Bristol Bears, they were second in the league.
In a strange twist of events, they actually ended up playing Bristol Bears again the following week, and also beat them, which earned them a place in the Premier 15s Women’s Rugby final, where they finished as runners-up.
You can buy tickets in advance or at the door
If you want to secure your tickets ahead of time, you can purchase them on the Exeter Chiefs website.
This site will allow you to make a seat selection (prices can vary hugely) and you’ll get the tickets via email. (You can also keep up with Exeter rugby club news and match reports on the website!).
However, you can also buy tickets at the door. When we were there, tickets were just £10 at the door – this was for the women’s game just before the semi-finals.
Get a train to Digby and Sowton
Exeter Chiefs play at Sandy Park Stadium, a 10-15 minute walk from Digby and Sowton train station.
This line connects with Exeter Central in the city centre and extends down to Exmouth.
You can also take the train all the way to Paignton from here!
Some parking is available
If you don’t want to get the train, you can park at Exeter Business Park (postcode EX1 3UT).
It costs £7 per vehicle in advance or £10 on the day.
There is a free shuttle bus service available on the day.
Choose from the open seating
If you’ve pre-ordered a ticket, you’ll know where you’re sitting.
But if you’ve bought your ticket at the door, choose from the open seating.
You can sit wherever you want in this section – so I’d recommend arriving early to secure your spot!
Purchase food and drinks at the stadium
If you’re hungry pre-match, there are quite a few refreshments that you can purchase here.
Chow down on hot dogs or purchase a pasty when you get there! Of course, there are also plenty of beers and other drinks to enjoy while you’re there.
The queues for food and drinks can be quite long, so make sure that you get there with plenty of time to spare.
There are also big queues during halftime, so try to head out as quickly as possible after the first half if you can!
Learn the basic rules of rugby!
Exeter rugby is incredibly fun to watch, even if you’ve never seen it play before! However, it’s a good idea to learn some basic rules of rugby.
The main thing to know is that players cannot pass the ball forward, only backwards or to the side. This is so the players, rather than the ball, determine how the game progresses.
Players can run with the ball, but of course, that puts them as a prime target for people tackling.
Points are scored in the following ways:
- A “try” is when a player runs to the end of the pitch and touches the ball down (that’s why it’s called “touchdown” in other forms of rugby or American football).
- Once the player scores a try, they may have the chance for a conversion to add two extra points.
- If a team gets a penalty, they can kick the ball past the posts and earn three points.
- Or, a drop-goal in play gets three points.
Play runs for 80 minutes, and the team who has the most points at the end of the game will win.
And that’s about all you need to know about visiting Exeter rugby club at Sandy Park! Even if you haven’t seen much rugby before, it’s one of the best things to do here at the weekend.