There are, it must be admitted after many varied conversations with Dave the Silent, any number of things which continue to draw attention from what is his eclectic mind; virtually anything surrounding a sporting contest although he admits no real personal attraction to anything except huntin’, fishin’ and archery, a thorough working knowledge
of what makes mechanical things function, and a deep and abiding reverence for Winston Churchill.
In the event, the Silent One was applying his mind to the first part of his own inherent triangular value system, but prefaced this by misquoting the wartime leader by saying: A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
“And before you rudely interrupt me,” he continued with a glance around the assembled gathering, “I know Winnie was talking about Russia … but you could be excused for applying the words to the perplexities of picking the outcomes in Super Rugby.”
Given the results recorded over the weekend with the Sunwolves landing a last-minute drop goal to all but end any aspirations the Stormers might still have held for a play-off berth before they travelled to face the Japanese franchise in Hong Kong, the 41-12 win the Waratahs – a side all but written off in many quarters, registered over the Highlanders, the get-out-of-jail 28-24 scoreline in the Sharks-Chiefs encounter at Kings Park, the Brumbies self-imploding in a 42-28 capitulation to the Lions at a freezing Ellis Park, and the Bulls getting a 54-24 klap from the Jaguares.
“I challenge any of you here,” the Silent One continued, “to have the utter gall to say he had predicted anything like that list of results. This, I would hazard that there is not one of you who can make such an outrageous claim.
“I have been reading how much the Bulls have improved under the coaching of John Mitchell. In the light of last weekend, the only comment I can make is, really?
“The Stormers seem to be having a serial crisis of confidence which manifests itself every time they take the field, and as for the Sharks and Lions, inconsistency has become almost a hallmark of their play. All of which, to my mind at least, is something we should be seriously worried about.
“It is, he said, leaning back on his engineering background as a world authority in the obscure science of phlangology, “adds up to the uncomfortable noise of a badly seated mechanical part.
“What also interests me is that despite the somewhat spotty recent history of South African fans, the crowds keep coming back for more.
“But Churchill was right when he said ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’. It certainly applies to our Super Rugby.”