Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Idler, Monday, April 9, 2018

The best lies ahead

OH BOY, Heartbreak Hotel! You play New Zealand's top side. You run them ragged. It's the closing minute, you're 37-31 up and you've got them pinned in their 22.

Then one of their hombres breaks loose down the left wing. He doesn't get tackled into touch. They're now in your half, with possession. They keep possession. It rolls on and on. The final hooter has long gone. Still It rolls. A couple of penalties against in the excitement. Tap and run! Heroic tackling. Not a single knock-on or fumble. Astonishing stuff! Then a try, fully six minutes into extra time. Then a conversion.

It's 38-37 to Wellington Hurricanes. Oh boy, you could cry! Yet one is privileged to have watched this superb display of running, handling rugby on either side. Also to have observed the guts, savvy and spirit of the Sharks who have, whatever the final outcome on the day, established themselves without question as a major force in Super Rugby. They have clicked.

Andre Esterhuizen had them clutching at thin air with some sizzling breaks. Curwin Bosch likewise from fullback. Thomas du Toit had a barnstormer in the tight-loose. Skipper Ruan Botha performed marvels in the line-outs. Robert du Preez kicked like a metronome. But it's wrong to single out individuals, this was a team effort.

Now what they need to do is come back, chew up the local opposition, spit out the pieces and see what happens from there, overall.

This last-gasp defeat by Wellington Hurricanes could be the start of a long haul to glory. Hier kom 'n ding!

Beguiled by damsels?


MEANWHILE, my Maritzburg Collegians clubmate and former skipper, Freddie Davel, suggests that my focus on the antics of the damsels of the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties has caused a lapse in concentration. Last week I referred to the Wellington Hurricanes as the "Wellington Crusaders."

Whoops, so I did, so I did! Muchas apologias! Yes, the Street Shelter gals can be most distracting. But the main reason for the lapse is these corny, Yankeefied, gridiron-style names that have been adopted in professional rugby. It's confusing, that's why I try to attach the geographical tag so we know who we're talking about.

Most undesirable, names such as these. Why, looking at gridiron I'm forever confusing the Green Bay Cowboys with the Dallas Packers.


MORE from Rosemarie Jarski's Great British Wit. Topic: University.

·       The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any university can teach. – Oscar Wilde.

·       I chose a single-sex Oxford college because I thought I'd rather not face the trauma of men at breakfast. – Theresa May.

·       At Oxford we drank to ludicrous excess and threw up over some of the most beautiful buildings in Britain. – Steven Norris.

·       The birds are not worthy of the cage. – John Strachey (0n Oxford architecture).

·       The real Oxford is a close corporation of jolly, untidy, lazy, good-for-nothing humorous old men, who have been electing their own successors ever since the world began and who intend to go on with it. They'll squeeze under the Revolution or leap over it when the time comes, don't you worry. – CS Lewis.

·       Oh my head … feels like the time I was initiated into the Silly Buggers Society at Cambridge. I misheard the rules and tried to push a whole aubergine up my earhole. – Lieutenant George (In Blackadder Goes North).

·       I find Cambridge an asylum, in every sense of the word. – AE Housman.



IT'S a fine day in ould Ireland and a tourist is enjoying a drink outside a pub. A nun approaches and starts lecturing him on the evils of booze.

He disagrees. A discussion ensues. It turns out the nun has never in her life touched a drop of alcohol. He offers to buy her a nip, so she can know what she's talking about.

All right, she says. But it will have to be in a coffee cup, otherwise people will be scandalised.

He goes inside and orders a double Jamesons – but in a coffee cup.

"Oh, no!" says the barman. "Don't tell me dat nun is out dere again!"

Last word

If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day.

John A Wheeler

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