Columnists 1.3.2017 10:49 am

Predictions leave strange taste at late braai

Jon Swift

Jon Swift

It had been an inauspicious start to the day as the rain poured down from a pewter sky over Johannesburg, effectively blotting out some of the preliminaries of virtually a full day of Super Rugby’s opening weekend interspersed with the Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield.

There were also dire predictions that the planned braai was a non-starter. But, almost miraculously, even in a season of dispiriting damp, the skies lifted, the picture on the big screen regained its clarity, the members of the usual gathering started trickling in and the braai was rescheduled for after the Six Nations with the Management Type volunteering to do his magic to the meat.

“Well,” said Dave the Silent, “are the Lions going to win this one?” He had hardly managed to get the words out when the Arithmetically-challenged Golfer, jumped into the breech. The self-proclaimed expert on all sporting matters – though, like the Perennial Punter, who would back the Sharks against the Red Army, he had taken the pride of KwaZulu to better the Reds in Brisbane – had absolutely no doubts about the outcome.

“The Cheetahs,” he said imperiously, “smashed the Lions in the Currie Cup semifinal. They are at home in Bloemfontein and should take the Lions apart again. But it will be a tough one”.

The Silent One cast a quizzical eye in the direction of the Fireman and both of them inured to the expansive predictions which tend to emanate from the Arithmetically-challenged One, shrugged. The first half tended to go the way it had been called. Deadlocked at 6-6 at the interval. But a Raymond Rhule try put the Cheetahs ahead and a smile on the face of the Arithmetically-challenged One.

“The floodgates will open from here on,” he predicted. But he had reckoned without Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who despite a particularly flat showing from the Lions halfback pairing Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies, scored the two tries which counted, the late one in the right-hand corner giving the Lions a last-gasp 28-25 victory.

The Silent One and the Fireman, looked at one another and shrugged again as the channel was hastily switched to Edinburgh and the Six Nations. “Wales should win this one,” said the Arithmetically-challenged One. I know you are going to say they managed a 27- 22 win over Ireland, but they are without their captain Greig Laidlaw and the Welsh are a formidable side.”

But it was not to be and as the smell of the braaiing chops, boerewors and ribs drifted tantalisingly above the gathering, the tenacious Scots ended up convincing 29-16 victors over the men from the valleys and amid some distinctly unmelodious choruses of Flower of Scotland, a late lunch was served.

“Well,” said the Silent One as the gathering tucked into their repast, “you have had a great weekend haven’t you? First the Sharks, then the Cheetahs and then the Welsh”. It seemed for a moment as if the Arithmetically-challenged One had choked on his chop bone.

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