Columnists 17.5.2017 03:25 pm

Blitzboks’ victory put the cap on the weekend

Jon Swift

Jon Swift

‘They were simply magnificent,’ said the Arithmetically-challenged One of coach Neil Powell’s team.

The Arithmetically-challenged Golfer was in full cry, and after a weekend where the Lions had completed a grand slam on their tour of Australia and the Blitzboks had struck gold in Paris and clinched the 2017 World Sevens Series in the process, his euphoria knew no bounds.

It must be admitted though that his sneering references to the Sharks being beaten by the unheralded Kings in Port Elizabeth and the once mighty Bulls getting a klap at Loftus by the Highlanders, did not go down well with some of the assembled gathering, but then they are inured to the Golfer’s flashes of enthusiasm which tend to spark between the high points.

“The truly great things about the Lions beating the Brumbies in Canberra, were Kwagga Smith’s try and that they managed to win ugly when their minds were already on the plane home and their bodies starting to feel the physical battering of three weeks on tour,” said the self-styled expert on all matters related to sport.

There was no overt disagreement over this bald statement. The Lions have proved to be far and away the most effective – and successful – SA side in a Super Rugby season where sides like the Sharks and Cheetahs, despite their strong support within the members of the usual assembly, and the Bulls, despite the strong pull of traditional near invulnerability, have flattered to deceive. But it was the Blitzboks which had gripped the Arithmetically-challenged One’s attention. And rightly so.

“They were simply magnificent,” he said of coach Neil Powell’s team. “To come back from losing 19-12 against Scotland in their opening pool game and then make it to the play-off was a feat in itself. “Then to keep the powerful Samoans scoreless with a 12-0 win in the quarters and follow this up by smashing the All Blacks 26-5, knowing that they had already settled the series, was a thing of real beauty.”

The Arithmetically-challenged One does tend to wax a trifle lyrical when something snatches his attention, but in this assessment he was right. “But the best was yet to come. Up against the Scots in the final, the Blitzboks got their revenge in the best possible way; Werner Kok, Dylan Sage and Philip Snyman running in three tries to the one from their opponents from Scott Wight for the 15-5 victory. It was the perfect response for the early setback and proof that reaching eight finals out of nine in the series – and, by the way, winning five was no fluke.”

But it was the Arithmetically-challenged one’s query at the end of his monologue though that left the assembly shaking their heads. “I wonder,” he said, “whether Kwagga and Seabelo Senatla – both withdrawn from the national Sevens squad to play Super Rugby – will be there to help pick up the series trophy at Twickenham? They will both have played their Super Rugby fixtures, and London is only a flight away”.

Fair comment for two of the stars of the series … and something for this country’s rugby authorities to think about.

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