Sunday Times

Tight­heads & Loose Balls

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● 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!

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