Columnists 29.11.2016 02:06 pm

Dropping a Chinese cracker on the Boks

Jon Swift

Jon Swift

Bemoaning the lack of fire in Springbok bellies.

The Arithmetically-challenged Golfer, a self-appointed expert on all sporting matters who also fancies himself as a bit of a comedian, had not started the postmatch discussion off well in the wakes of the listless Springbok side’s 27-13 hammering by Wales in Cardiff.

“Yes,” he said, repeating the general sentiment, “the Boks were dismal, disorganised and down in the mouth. You only had to track their body language as the game dragged out to the result nearly all of us has suspected would be the outcome. “But all is not lost. The authorities have organised for a new coach to join the Boks. His name is Wee-Win Soon.”

The intended witticism was greeted with the sound of one hand clapping – and it must be some bemused faces from those who had missed the excruciating pun entirely. “What’s he going to coach them?” asked the Perennial Prop, a man who has always taken his rugby seriously. “Kung Fu? It might not be a bad idea to get some fight back in the side. Especially as they have had all the rugby coached out of them. And I’ll tell you something for nothing; as things stand, our next Test win won’t be soon.

“Doc Craven,” he said in his characteristic rumble, “must be turning in his grave. A Springbok scrum being out-muscled first by the English, then – horror of horrors – the Italians and this time round outgunned up front by the Welsh, who only just managed to edge past Japan – remember Japan beating us in the World Cup? – through a last-gasp drop-goal from Sam Davies.

“Weigh that against the fact that the Italians went down 19-17 to Tonga at the weekend. There is just no fire in the Bok bellies anymore.” The Perennial Prop shook his shaggy head in frustrated disgust and paused for a moment’s agonised contemplation before continuing.

“We seem to have confused fire with ill-discipline. Faf de Klerk is sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on almost at the start of the second half with the Boks just six points behind, we are suddenly 14 points a drift and never looking to make that up. Not without a fetcher on the flank. Has the coach never heard of Heinrich Brussow?

“But, to be fair, there were some encouraging signs early on from the centre pairing of Francois Venter and Rohan Janse van Rensburg. These are two players for the future and they looked like a decent combination if they are ever given enough ball. Certainly that wasn’t the case with Elton Jantjies at flyhalf. He just doesn’t seem able to take the step up to Test level where he’s going to be forced into playing off the back foot a lot of the time.

“This not part of his game and his failure to take charge showed it.” The Perennial Prop paused once more, closed his eyes as if the final score was engraved inside his eyelids, and again shook his head. “What did you say that Chinese coach’s name was?” he said rounding on the Arithmetically-challenged One.

“The way things look right now, it’s difficult to imagine we could do worse.”

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