An illuminating chat about SA rugby in Wales

Elton Jantjies of the Lions and team mates celebrate during the Super Rugby match between DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions at DHL Newlands Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Elton Jantjies of the Lions and team mates celebrate during the Super Rugby match between DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions at DHL Newlands Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

‘You’re wasting your time and energy, mate! You’ll never have a winner. How do you feel being a loser?’

Are you one of those who believe South Africa is only a blip on the global map? And the rest of the world couldn’t care a fig about what goes on here, with the more knowledgeable ones believing roaring lions stalk shoppers in Joburg streets, and tribes still sport loincloths and shoot with bow and arrows (exacerbated by the lone screaming and jumping tribesperson at rugby Test matches).

Must admit I was always under the impression South Africa was of nuisance value for its precious metals and run by corrupt reprobates in the guise of political leaders. The only plus factor is the majority have been given the vote – but the poor are no better off.

Until last week, that is.

I was in an Uber, travelling between Penarth and Cardiff. After some silence the driver, a pukka portly Welshman, suddenly turned on me.

“Hey, mate, what in hell happened to your rugby team against the New Zealanders?” in obvious reference to the Super Rugby final between the Lions and Crusaders.

Before I could answer, he spittled on. “I’ll tell you what happened. It’s that *&$# system called alternative action. What *&$# balderdash! Since when can players be up for selection only according to their skin colour? Does form and fitness count for zero? Who are these nincompoops calling the shots. Don’t they consider winning in the scheme of things?”

“Well …”

He didn’t allow me to finish. “Sport is about competition, and the goal is to win. Let me tell you something, mate, even if a team is made up of only black players – and they’re the best of the bunch – then so be it. If they’re all white, all Indian, all Chinese, all Japanese, all women, and they’re the best, choose them!

“Colour doesn’t come into it. How do you as a South African feel about it?”

“Well …”

“I hope you’re not one that’s been brainwashed into believing this sport killer? If so, why bother to support a team? You’re wasting your time and energy, mate! You’ll never have a winner. How do you feel being a loser?”

“Well …”

“Can’t be a good feeling, eh? Oh, here we are, your destination. Been good meeting you and exchanging views. Good luck with the Lions.”

Cliff Buchler.

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