Tightheads & Loose Balls
● Apart from the scoreline Gcobani Bobo doesn’t have good memories of the Springboks’ 16-52 “Van Riebeeck Test” defeat against the All Blacks at Loftus in 2003. Tightheads caught up with Bobo this week in preparation for next week’s clash against the All Blacks at the same venue. “It was Nelson Mandela’s birthday so it was rather disappointing,” recalled Bobo, who was an unused substitute that day. “My dad attended the match. I didn’t get to play. He was really cheesed off. He said to me ‘you did nothing’,” said Bobo, who now sees the humour in what transpired.
● Speaking of Loftus, where the Bulls this week had to explain why they’ve seemingly pulled the plug on the Blou Bul song. The song’s performer, an Afrikaner activist (although many would suggest he is another kind of ‘ist’) cried blue murder when he heard his little ditty had been sidelined. The singer who has taken to martyrdom like the Bulls have to defeat in recent seasons, was most displeased and predictably took to social media.
The Bulls were at pains to explain that the song had not been banned but that it no longer features as the team’s run-on song before matches. We suspect the Bulls figured it was time for a change as their team, unlike suggestions in the lyrics, has long been dining from the floor.
● Wallabies’ Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper are trying to rebuild their respective careers after being bust for substance abuse. Tightheads found it curious that they both complained of mental health issues, but either way, we wish them well.
● Sacked by the Reds, Slipper has joined the Brumbies. “Have you already formulated plans to how James Slipper and Scott Sio will work together?” colourful assistant coach Laurie Fisher was asked this week. “Mate, it’s day one of the announcement. I’m more worried who wins the fifth at Moree today.”
● A wonderful article on stuff.co.nz this week recounted the All Blacks 1976 tour of Uruguay and Argentina. One of the abiding memories for the tourists was the strong military presence on the streets and next to the field following the take-over of the junta in Argentina months before the tour. The article however mostly revelled in a bygone era in which the players had to make do with the International Rugby Board-approved $5 daily allowance.
Even on the way home when they had to stop over in Tahiti, the tour continued to kick up surprises. They got delayed for days on the south Pacific Island which gave the locals just enough time to hastily arrange a friendly. The tourists got “paid” in champagne. Bless the amateur days!