The large man who always seems to have a deal of some sort in the offing arrived as a welcome addition to the ranks of the usual gathering, proudly sporting the colours of the Cheetahs for their tilt at their Griqua neighbours.
“These are my boys,” he said proudly thumping the badge on his breast. “They are unbeaten and top of the table. The Griquas might just as well turn round and go back to Kimberley. They won’t win this one.”
To be fair, there was some logic in the weight the Super Smous gave the chances of the opposing teams. The Cheetahs were at home and had scored a 47-12 win over the Sharks in the season’s opener and a 30-17 victory over Western Province, while the men in the peacock blue and white stripes had lost 51-45 to the Blue Bulls, been edged 48-43 by the Golden Lions at Ellis Park, and been convincingly trounced 41-3 by the Natalians at King’s Park.
“Surely,” the dealmaker urged those around him, “the numbers must add up. These are teams from different planets and it is great to see the Cheetahs back … and don’t forget they are the reigning Currie Cup champions, even if they have to play in Europe in future after getting canned from Super Rugby. “It’s an outrage. The Free State has produced more top rugby players than there are sheep in the Karoo.”
It was no coincidence that the Super Smous would use that particular analogy. On occasion he manages to lay his hands on some really special, cost-effective deals in half sheep, which he freely invites his mates to take advantage of. But there was a far more important priority on his mind on the day.
Things seemed to going according to the script the Smous had presented as the Cheetahs played their way into a 17-6 halftime lead and the representation of the speedy cat on the dealmaker’s replica jersey took a closedfist thumping. “Now,” he said. “we’ll run away with it.” But, as the old adage would have it, there’s many a slip ’twixt cup and lip. And the determined Griquas led 23-20 heading into the final five minutes.
A try in the corner from Cheetahs wing Makazole Mapimpi seemed to have clinched matters, but loose forward De Wet Kruger grabbed his second try with barely two minutes left and flyhalf George Whitehead kicked the conversion from the corner to give Griquas the 30-25 lead – their second big win in a week after the 44-34 victory over Western Province – and hand the Cheetahs their first defeat of the Currie Cup season.
The Super Smous, as shattered as he may have been inside, accepted the inevitable blot of the record. “I’m not going to go home and burn my jersey,” he said, with the equanimity of a man who realises that not every deal turns out a winner.