The wonderful image on TV screens recently of Amla, Duminy, Ntini, de Villiers and Smith walking off the MCG together after becoming the first South African cricket team to beat Australia in Australia was both historic and significant.
Who would have thought even 20 years ago that an Englishman, Afrikaner, Coloured, Muslim Indian and a Xhosa Black would be sharing such a great moment.
Suddenly our standing in world sport has gone up few notches. Not only are we the World Cup Champions in rugby but are now also recognised as a major force again in cricket. Add to that the national Seven-a-Side team winning the first two legs of the world international Seven-a-Side rugby series in Dubai and beautiful George - the scenes in George were of spontaneous jubilation. Yet again the two stars were from contrasting backgrounds, both superstars who I think we will see a lot of in future years and augurs well for the next World Cup in New Zealand 2011. See you there for sure.
I remember those ‘games’ in the era when the Afrikaners used to absolutely klap us in rugby and we used to return the favour in cricket. I will never forget the pleasure and pain of sport - almost having ribs broken by a massive prop with cauliflower ears and him chuckling in the ear ‘jy is sag soutie’ but I returned the favour in cricket when I sent the red ball which is as hard as concrete at 135kph into his ribs and quietly chuckled in his ear - did that one tickle a bit?
Back to the cricket which definitely worth writing about - three finer test matches we haven’t seen for a long time. The fighting spirit; the see-saw battles day after day, were enthralling. To win at the finest cricket stadium on the planet - that’s my opinion - made it even more dramatic - the Colosseum of Cricket. The key was Smith (I said this in an earlier article) and he was magnificent in every respect - as captain, player, motivator and ambassador he stood tall. What is really exciting is the group of young stars shining through which I don’t think this would have happened if Smith hadn’t gone out there and dominated the Australians in every respect. Jou doring skip, every South African and Sabona love you mate.
The same can be said of rugby which is entering a very exciting phase with players of all colour playing at extremely high standards making the future look rosy with the South Africans having a much bigger pool to pick from. The Beast (who would have thought the blacks were going to make such good props, wingers maybe?), Habana, de Villiers,James set a similar image of the changing face of South African sport. There were 35,000 South African supporters at the last World Cup in France - lets better that in Kiwiland especially all us rugby tragics in Oz.
Can you believe Super 14 is almost upon us - a great tournament - please don’t let the Crusaders win! Have a great sporting year everyone, and may your team do well.