Kick of destiny
FREE State stadium stood in a moment's silence last weekend to mark the death, aged 76, of Syd Nomis, the brilliantly mercurial Springbok and Transvaal threequarter – he played centre and wing – who scored six tries in 25 Tests in the late 60s and early 70s (a time when Test matches were few and far between).
A YouTube video now recalls Nomis's first try for the Boks, at Ellis Park. It was from a diagonal punt which fell magically into his arms as he ran full-tilt for a sensational try.
What made the try especially unusual was that the diagonal kick came not from the flyhalf but from the hooker. Also that the hooker, Gys Pitzer, was actually trying to kick for touch the other side of the field, but the ball came off the wrong side of his boot, providing Nomis the wonderful diagonal punt.
This was confirmed by Nomis in the same video. When he thanked Pitzer for the superb kick that brought him his first Springbok try, he replied: "Don't be silly, I tried to kick it into touch the other way."
A hooker upstages his flyhalf with a kick for touch that comes off the wrong side of his boot to create the perfect diagonal punt for the wing to score. This story has the absolute ring of truth.
NIGGLE, niggle. A lot of our sportswriters and rugby commentators describe the diagonal punt for the winger – used a lot these days - as a "crosskick".
That's just wrong. A crosskick is when the winger, hemmed in against the touchline, kicks infield to his forwards for them to collect and make for the posts.
It's not used that often these days, but could be worth trying again because it has the cover defence rushing in exactly the opposite direction.
Also, these guys keep describing the loose forwards as the "back row". That might have been accurate when the eighth man and the flanks bound together and pushed against the locks in the 3-2-3 scrum but that ended when – was it the 1920s? – today's 3-4-1 formation was adopted.
A back row of one man is not much of a row.
Here endeth the niggles.
FATHER'S Day story. Curtis May's daughter and granddaughter took him out to the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, in New York, for a Father's Day lunch last weekend.
Curtis ordered a burger, asking that cheddar cheese and mayonnaise be added to it.
He enjoyed his burger but, according to Huffington Post, when the bill came, the girls noticed that the cheese and mayo request had been added to the slip, followed by the words: "Please spit in it too!"
"I ate my burger already. I felt like I was gonna throw up," Curtis told a local TV station.
The waitress denied having anything to do with it. Management said it was highly unlikely that any cook would spit in a meal, but it refunded the daughter and granddaughter. Curtis is still queasy.
These Bohemians! Anything goes!
THE sheriff's men in Covington, Louisiana, in the US, are throwing all resources into solving the mystery of a fresh human index finger found in the stomach of a turtle.
The finger was found by a fisherman who was cleaning the turtle in preparation for cooking it.
"He was cleaning it for a meal, at which time he found it inside of the turtle and we were contacted," St Tammany Parish Sheriff's Captain Scott Lee told the Huffington Post.
"We notified our coroner's office and they determined it is, in fact, a human finger," Lee said. "This is a very, very odd occurrence here."
Lee described the turtle as "pretty large," and said the fisherman caught it in the Tchefuncte River, north of Lake Pontchartrain.
No missing digits have been reported at the local hospitals, though the authorities believe the victim could have been too embarrassed to seek medical assistance.
Perhaps some clue lies in the name of the turtle species - alligator snapping turtle.
It obviously could not have been part of a dispute with a cricket umpire whose lbw decisions were disputed. Not in good ol' Louisiana?
"Yoda lady who?"
A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.