On Fridays, during my final year at varsity, we had a double period lecture by the late great Doc Craven. This was one lecture I did not bunk – not once.
One day he related to us how Jannie Engelbrecht had scored three tries in his first match for the Maties. At practice on Monday, Jannie was justifiably proud of himself. Doc called him over and said: “Darem jammer jy sal nou vir die volgende paar weke nie weer ‘n drie onder die pale kan druk nie, né?”
“Hoe dan nou so, Dok?”
“Want jou f….n kop is te groot.”
This is possibly also the biggest challenge for the Kiwis after their smash and grab victories over a hopelessly sub-standard Zimbabwe. A little further back in their minds is how they ousted us in the World Cup.
Let’s hope nobody convinces them differently before the start of the series.
As far as our team is concerned: there were times in the past when I got the feeling that they did not need much of an achievement to believe themselves to be superior to all others on the planet. That would possibly explain why we have gained a reputation as the comeback kids of world cricket – by the time we got out feet back on the ground, the opposition was already halfway towards winning the game.
With Gary at the helm, and AB in the boiler room, I think this ghost will be laid to rest.
And then there is of course the little matter of some R3.2 million for being the best test side at the end of April to keep them humble.
Super 15 Sideshows
First we saw JP Pietersen move to inside centre, now there is talk of applying Bryan Habana in the same manner for the Stormers.
All of this can of course happen with no RWC looming, and their places fairly secure until the new Bok coach has made his plans clearer as he settles in his position.
The Sharks used Stefan Terblanche, a recycled wing/fullback there last year, but obviously need a bit of muscle in this attacking position which has too often in SA rugby been seen as yet another link in the defence chain. JP had a brilliant season last year, and one trusts that he will be able to continue his good form.
The Stormers are desperate to justify their retention of Habana, whose performance for them was vastly inferior to what he did at the Bulls. I sincerely hope that this experiment will restore his confidence. He is undoubtedly world class, and in the company of electrifying players like Gio Aplon, could make Newlands a popular spot on Saturdays despite the ructions in the board room.
Possibly the most exciting aspect of the upcoming series will be the emergence of the new generation of Springboks. A year ago, Sias Ebersohn was a strong contender for the Springbok side, now he is the second choice for the Cheetahs at flyhalf after Johan Goosen.
Some exciting talent from the WP will strut their stuff in the Bulls camp. The Lions will want to show that their success last year can be repeated at a higher level this year.
All in all, there is much to look forward to.
I even invested in a PVR decoder – not to watch doubtful decisions in slow motion, but to relive all those snippets of the babes before the matches.
Lekker kyk weer, ou Grote.