by Philip Scott
The 2007 Rugby World Cup was very much a roller-coaster ride for all Springbok fans. Leading up to the World Cup our boys pulled off a stunning 22-19 win over Australia in the Tri-Nations opener. A new star was born in Francois Steyn, the flamboyant Natal Sharks fly-half, putting away 2 long range drop goals to seal the victory.
The rest of the Tri-Nations was pretty much a blur. On many occasion Bok fans everywhere muttered that were resting our players for the World Cup! This did not ease the pain we had to endure while listening to the Kiwis and the Aussies rub in the awful truth about our dismal performances. We didnt stand a chance! Well, ok at least the Kiwis had reason to gloat! They showed themselves to be the form team. It was a given that the All Blacks would be in the World Cup final.
Fast forward to 15 September at Stade de France. The Springboks played the perfect 36-0 game to shatter Englands hopes of defending the cup, or so we thought! Never mind the fact that Jonny (who you would turn gay for) Wilkinson wasnt playing, no team on earth was going to beat the Springboks that day. Even Percy seemed to have left his mirror out of his sock and decided to play rugby! If it wasnt for slow motion replays and HDTV everyone would have thought he had a perfect game.
Suddenly it felt like we were falling from dizzying heights to a new low as we sat helplessly on the sidelines watching Tonga inch closer and closer to what easily could have been a victory. Only to then receive a scare from the always entertaining Fiji. Fortunately for us die hard supporters, that was to be the low point as we soared to heights not even experienced after the 1995 win.
It is interesting to note that during the World Cup only 70% of visitors to the Sabona website admitted to still supporting the Springboks. After the final this figure jumped to 90%!
The UKs number 1 newspaper, the Telegraph, reported how dignified and well behaved the South African players were at functions following the final. Instead of showing up looking like they had been partying non-stop, they were a vision of discipline and order. Even Schalk Burger was perfectly groomed and displayed manners befitting a prince poised to take over as king.
How appropriate then to have Bryan Habana crowned as international player of the year. Im sure it was a tough choice between him and the cheetah, but his ball-skills probably did it for him. Do yourself a favour and visit YouTube (www.youtube.com) Habana tries, or Habana cheetah.
In stark contrast, the All Blacks reportedly spent a record amount at the bar. While this claim could not be substantiated, the resulting damage to some cars parked outside the Hilton could not be denied. Doug Howlett was clearly distraught about their early exit and decided to take it out on inanimate objects that could not fight back. Maybe he should be sent off to the Jake White finishing school. It worked for Schalk!
A colleague in England uttered the words as much as it pains me to say it, the better team won. Talk about stating the obvious! Was there ever any doubt? Ok, well maybe, but who cares! We won, and we deserve it! (Oh yes and the Boks did all right too!)
Proud Bokke Supporter...
We decided to fly the flag from our verandah until the end of the World Cup! Despite living in Oz for 8 years now, we are still a family of loyal fans and wanted everyone in our street to know which side we supported! Our neighbours are all supportive (considering they dont have a team in the finals!). Grayson Cannon is below the flag.
Thats the Spirit!!!!
Along with the serious task of winning the World Cup, there had to be some humour. Heres one we at Sabona found to be particularly relevant:
A little girl was sitting in her classroom in England when her teacher walked in and started talking about how proud she is to be English and how wonderful it is to be an England supporter. The teacher then asked everyone who supported England to put up their hand. Every hand in the class besides one went up. This surprised the teacher and so she asked the little girl why her hand wasnt up. Well, said the little girl, because I dont support England.
Even more surprised, the teacher asked her who she supported. I support the Springboks, she replied. Now a bit irritated, the teacher asked the little girl why she supported the Springboks. My mom supports the Springboks, and my dad supports the Springboks, so I support the Springboks. The teacher looked at the little girl and with a smirk asked: Well, if your mom was an idiot and your dad was an idiot, what would you be?
The little girl looked up at her teacher, smiled and replied: An England supporter!