It was also a cue to those who had seen the Silent One in this frame of mind before, that something was brewing and that while it was appropriate to dissect get-out-of-jail card Lions winger Ruan Combrinck had flashed in the faces of the Sharks with a 58m penalty just two minutes from time to snatch a 23-21 Super Rugby quarterfinal from the yawning jaws of an ignominious defeat.
“Well,” said the Silent One, employing his now familiar interjection into the conversation. “I do not claim any startling insights into the nether regions of the game of rugby. But a number of things strike me about the debate you lads are currently engaged in.
“First and foremost, it is senseless to take it out on the referee. He is an embodiment of the proverbial pianist; he’s under pressure and playing as fast as he can. And anyway, have you ever seen a scoreline reversed after the final whistle has gone?” He paused for a quick visual census of the audience. “I thought not,” he added.
“The second thing which struck me was that without Warren Whiteley out there as captain, the Lions are not the same team. You lads keep telling me the players will walk through a wall for Warren.
“It is a crying shame that he won’t he fit for the rest of Super Rugby. But at least he’ll be back in harness before the Rugby Championship starts a week after the final. The Springboks must be delighted about that news.
“Whiteley always seems in control and always able to come up with something. It’s what being a leader is all about. “But the most troubling aspect for me was how Elton Jantjies showed feet of clay in the cauldron produced by the in-your-face tactics from the Sharks.
“This was a graphic illustration of a flyhalf whose confidence and form on the front foot deserted him when he was forced on to the back foot. There was nothing about his play on the day to recommend him – especially as the reigning Bok No 10. The Kiwis especially will have taken ample notice of this.
“And do you not think,” said the Silent One, “that the Hurricanes – I understand that it is the Hurricanes who visit Ellis Park for the semifinal next week – will have ignored the evidence the Sharks presented them with?
“Perhaps the only instant solution for the Lions is to try and swing a short-term contract with Curwin Bosch now that his season at the Sharks is over.”