Tightheads & Loose Balls
● Joel Stransky must have been thankful he has spent all that time on his bike. The svelte former Springbok flyhalf encountered a bit of a nightmare when he had to travel to Port Elizabeth for the Test against the Wallabies last week. He had been assigned to a middle seat but elbow room was at a premium. He had to wedge himself between two rather broad-shouldered gentlemen, one of whom remarked: “Now you know what it’s like to be part of the forwards.”
● Bok prop Frans Malherbe was asked this week about the gap that opened up for him against the All Blacks in Wellington. “I got a bigger fright than you guys,” said Malherbe. “It happens now and then with props. It’s not about the individual. I think we scored,” he said modestly.
● We know All Blacks coach Steve Hansen can be a bit of a storyteller at pressers, but his yarn — explaining that his team draws little comfort from playing at Loftus, where they have a good record — takes the cake.
“It’s a different group of people. It’s a different occasion,” said Hansen.
“I don’t know if you do any baking but it’s like baking a cake. I occasionally do. If you get the same ingredients you nearly end up with the same cake. Some of them ... no-one wants to eat. We want one we can eat.” ● The All Blacks midfield partnership of Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue quickly revealed their burgeoning bromance last week. The pair fronted the media and they couldn’t take their eyes off each other. “Sonny has taken me under his wing,” cooed Goodhue. “I appreciate all the help. Hopefully we can continue this relationship.”
At that moment Williams interjected: “Uh, tell them about the book you just finished, the one with the best pick-up lines.”
“The one that you gave me,” Goodhue retorted.
● All Blacks prop Karl Tu’inukuafe suffered the same fate as some journalists when he tried to negotiate the expanse that is the Sandton City precinct. He had just finished an interview in the convention centre when he lost his bearings on his way back to the team hotel.
One journalist who took half an hour to find parking in the concrete bowels of the mall, took another 20 minutes to locate his car an hour later.
● Obviously Tu’inukuafe is less familiar with Sandton than his well-travelled teammates. His rise this year has been nothing short of meteoric. He made his Super Rugby debut and within three months he represented the All Blacks.
Tu’inukuafe, who was a part-time bouncer, took up rugby again in 2014 after his doctor told him he was a heart attack waiting to happen. He’s had to cut out the burgers but now he’s having tightheads for breakfast instead.