I guess it would be hard to describe to the southern tribe how great Orlando Stadium was when the Bulls managed, for a second year in a row, to convincingly beat the Crusaders in the Super 14 semi-finals.
JJ Harmse – Sport24
Soweto is very far removed from Cape Town in many ways, but luckily for all, it will be in their living rooms on Saturday. Hopefully they will find the experience as awesome as those who will be privileged enough to fill the stadium this weekend.
It certainly proved (again) that sport has got no barriers when it comes to nation building. I suppose we as South Africans are lucky that sport brings us together at crucial times.
There can be no doubt that recent statements attributed to Julius Malema and the murder of Eugene Terre’blanche have threatened our social cohesion, but then comes along a glorious day in Soweto and now, upon us, a fantastic opportunity to share our country with the world.
Hopefully, but probably not, this will allow us to kick on as a nation again and enjoy the fruits of what sport bring us.
This brings me to the sad, sad situation surrounding ‘Beast’ Mtawarira.
Somewhere in some office in some government building a certain official or party representative is sitting smugly at his desk.
He probably feels very proud about the fact that Beast cannot play for the Springboks. I wish I knew his real intention for going after the Sharks prop.
Also, somewhere in some office, maybe in the Absa Stadium in Durban or in the SA Rugby offices in Newlands, an official will be sitting with a guilty conscience.
That person would know that some official document was not forwarded in time or some registration date had not been adhered too. Why this was not done, only that person would know.
Then you have Beast, who has until know, lived his dream. He has worked hard to achieve the ultimate in world rugby, to play for the Springboks, has made huge personal sacrifices by leaving his country of birth in search of a better chance in life and despite all, maintained a balanced outlook on life itself.
Remember his face when he played in his first Test for the Springboks? The emotion and tears when he sang the national anthem (the whole one) and the way his play has stirred emotions right across the country.
It is sad that in a time where rugby has shown politicians the way, they reply with something so unnecessary.
I understand the problem the Minister of Sport might have with perceptions that some people are more important than others and that Beast should “stand in line” like the rest. But will he really be the first one to be bumped up the chain?
Maybe he should have been a leader of Haiti and not the honest grafter from Zimbabwe then?
While he is lamenting his bad luck on Twitter, another ex-Bok seems to be getting his SMS’s all mixed up.
I am of course referring to Frans Steyn, who, according to reports, is having a communication meltdown with Springbok coach Peter de Villiers about his selection to the Boks for next weekend’s Test against Wales in Cardiff.
Steyn wants out of that one, as he needs rest and a mental break from the game after helping Racing-Metro to their best season in years.
I found it interesting that Steyn played 95% of his games at inside centre for the club, the position many still believe is his best.
This is of course where he played in the 2007 World Cup, but since then, the continuing movement between flyhalf and fullback impacted on his game negatively.
It was also said at the time of his departure to France that Steyn was looking to settle in his preferred position of flyhalf, something that clearly did not materialise.
Let’s hope for the sake of the player, coach and the country that this impasse will be sorted out sooner rather than later.
It is bad enough if you have a player who wants nothing more than to play for the Springboks not being allowed to do so by some underhand political manoeuvre. It is even worse though when you have a player who can, but who doesn’t want to play.
Just a passing comment on the Bulls v Stormers final. I predict the Bulls to win this one.
They have a better kicking game than the Stormers, mainly because their half-back pairing is so much better. That will prove decisive, I believe.
There will be some huge match-ups again and I for one will be looking at two of the smallest, but gutsiest players on the field – Francois Hougaard and Gio Aplon – giving each other a real go.