No shame in get­ting a dust­ing from bril­liant Beau­den and his mates

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT -

THE tough­est pun­ish­ment in world sport at the mo­ment is fac­ing the All Blacks for 80 min­utes. It is a bru­tal, lung-bust­ing busi­ness, and you are left with noth­ing but a dropped jaw to show for your hon­est en­deav­our.

It truly is the tough­est test in sport right now.

For­get a few rounds with An­thony Joshua, be­cause the big guy even­tu­ally puts you to sleep. Nice guy that he is, Joshua will do it quickly, gen­er­ally, so that you don’t suf­fer for too long. Even when you taunt him, and look to get him off his game.

Fac­ing some of the best foot­ball teams can be rough, but there is no phys­i­cal pain in­volved. The likes of Barcelona may run cir­cles around you, dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion and score for fun, but it is pride that gets dented, not body parts.

The prob­lem with fac­ing the All Blacks is that they can de­liver plea­sure and pain in the same spoon­ful of medicine. They al­low you the priv­i­lege of pos­ses­sion, even hu­mour you with sev­eral phases.

Then the hits get Joshua­like, and the won­der­fully mod­ern, pitch-side cam­eras pick up the crunch of un­flinch­ing mus­cle on cor­nered bone.

You will never find too much sym­pa­thy for Aus­tralians on South African shores or on the sport­ing field but, for a fleet­ing mo­ment, one had to al­most feel sorry for the hap­less men in gold as each of their ef­forts were thwarted be­fore a black tsunami swept past them on the way to the line.

Some of them were passed by as if they were merely bea­cons in a train­ing drill, their pres­ence deemed in­con­se­quen­tial by as­ton­ish­ing foot­work and pace.

In the mo­ments af­ter the in­com­pa­ra­ble Beau­den Bar­rett scored his fourth try – who does that at fly­half? – the re­plays showed some de­spon­dent Aussie faces. Some­times, you just have to doff your cap at bril­liance, and the stuff that Bar­rett pro­duced in Auck­land would have de­mor­alised any de­fence, in any era.

The su­perla­tives have yet to be cre­ated to do jus­tice to some of the stuff that the blind­ingly bril­liant Kiwi pivot pro­duces. Maybe, just maybe, they have some­thing apt in the Maori lan­guage, be­cause English has too many rules to cap­ture the un­bri­dled shock he con­tin­ues to in­spire.

The Xhosa com­men­ta­tors got close, with rev­er­en­tial Thixo and Thiza, as well as the oblig­a­tory “oooohhhs” and “aaaaahhs”. One day, when they are old men, with grand­chil­dren, those sorry Aussies will re­flect on 2018 at Eden Park with a sense of pride, happy to re­call that they shared the field with great­ness.

“Yeah, mate, that was me he side-stepped for that third try. I reck­oned I had him, fair dinkum. He ghosted me, mate. Felt like he went straight through me.”

There is no shame in that, be­cause one thing has be­come abun­dantly clear – the All Blacks will hold on to the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, the World Cup and the once keenly con­tested Bledis­loe Cup for the next decade.

As for the rest of us, we are com­pet­ing for dis­tant sec­ond. Heck, we could all pro­duce our own tro­phy. Maybe even call it the Bloody Slow Cup, be­cause we are light years be­hind the men in black.

There is no shame in that. Just ask the Aussies, Ir­ish, English and the French. Eish, these are All Blacks… Thixo!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.