Our thoughts are with Akona, Odwa

There will be something missing from Super Rugby this weekend as two of the most familiar faces in the South African game take time off to mourn the death of their father in Mthatha earlier this week.

The 33-year-old dreadlocked Ndungane twins, Akona and Odwa, have become almost iconic figures –Akona at Loftus Versfeld for the Bulls, who have a bye this weekend; and brother Odwa in the colours of the Sharks at King’s Park.

Between them they have given an understated impetus to the growing number of African stars who continue to grace the game at the highest level.

Akona has 11 Springbok caps and Odwa has worn the Green and Gold nine times.

Between them, they have both won over the crowds and critics, quietly delivering consistent performan-ces out of the top drawer for almost a decade and a half – Akona showing the intestinal fortitude to come back from two horrific leg fractures, either of which could have proved career-ending in a lesser player.

And even though neither of the Ndungane siblings will lace up their boots or pull a jersey over their heads, it would be a worthy gesture of the rugby public at large to pause for a moment of respect this weekend.

today in print