Who would have thought that South African sport would be where it is now? After the election things were looking bleak with quotas, administration blunders, confusion, but amazingly it's pulled itself up and again. The emergence of genuine international superstars of all race colours is highly pleasing. The South African 7-a-side rugby team is excelling leading the international standing by quite a margin and going into the last two tournaments in London and Edinburgh should pull off a first. There are definitely a couple of future superstars in the making for the Boks in this very talented squad (and none of them play in the Super 14 ). Any doubters just remember awesome Jonah Lomu and dynamic Christian Cullen came out of the 7-a-side system. And of course beating the New Zealanders on a regular basis now is very ‘lekker', especially after all the smashing we had to endure when the South African Rugby Board did not take the competition too seriously.
South Africa is now number one in the world in cricket with lots of classy youngsters making their mark – one cannot get more Suid Afrikaner than Roedolf van der Merwe. Graeme Smith, who is still young, is taking on the mantle of invincibility – number one batsmen in the world and is developing an aura of complete dominance when he comes onto the pitch – the dominator! Add in the best fast bowler, the best wicketkeeper and best all rounder. Things are looking good, okies!
Are we the best rugby team on the planet? My answer: We have the best talent and are the biggest, strongest and fastest. But we play too conservatively still, tend to defend leads after totally dominating the opposition and go into our laager shells. I've said all along that if the Bokkies pick the right team, get real fit, be mentally tough and play the right game we can win the World Cup for a record third time at a canter BUT that is a big IF!
Interestingly, South Africa is doing particularly well at team sports. To do well at individual sports a country has to have a national sports academy. The United States has a multi academy system with college athletic programs, into which massive amounts of money are pumped. Team sports are great for schools and rugby and cricket in South Africa is very vibrant and healthy. The explosion of sports tournaments is great to see and is keeping the playing standards very high. I used to be involved in the Saints Schools Rugby festival at St Stithians College in Johannesburg which used to attract crowds of up to 15,000. But then again top rate school boy rugger is the best rugger to watch. Ooops, one exception. I don't think it can beat the Greatest Game in the World: The mighty All Blacks against the formidable Green and Gold.
In conclusion as much as I wanted the Sharkies to win (heart call), South Africa's best chance was always going to be the Bulls (head call). Well done to the Bulls' conservative coach: You used your backline. It's blitz, big, strong, skilled, so why the bloody hell not! You will now be a God in Pretoria with that record winning margin! Vat hom vas, fluffy!