World Cup preview?
WHAT a corker of a Test! Eighty minutes of close to faultless rugby by either side. The Boks squeaking home after an astonishing recovery from the early England hurricane.
Did we see here a preview of the next World Cup final? But first two more Tests in this series. This is humdinger rugby.
Siya Kolisi will never forget his first captaincy. Faf de Klerk (man of the match) and Willie le Roux showed that their time with Wasps in the European club competition has honed them to a new pitch. How nutty was that notion that players overseas should not be chosen for the Boks.
Roll on Saturday and Bloemfontein.
AND what an entertaining afternoon at another level last Friday at the annual prep schools rugby derby between hosts Durban Prep and the Merchie Mudrats – Merchiston, their brother school up in Maritzburg on the banks of the Umsinduzi River.
There was game after game in all age groups, ending under floodlights with the First XVs (Under 13). And what a revelation. These kids ruck with purpose, get the ball out to the wings, tackle like demons – and it's all fast and absolutely clean. Coaching at this level has obviously improved tremendously.
I guess the attention of most of us has drifted away from prep school rugby. In my case I might have been soured by an incident when, as a Mudrat many years ago, we were playing at Durban Prep. One of their guys crossed our line but we grabbed him, held him up and wrestled him up a steep bank behind the field of play. Then we let him go and he placed the ball – and was awarded a try. The deadball line was the hedge at the top of the bank, the ref explained.
It's the kind of thing you don't forget. But it can't happen today because that bank has been cut away and the hedge has become a palisade fence.
Prep took the honours but Merchiston have nothing to be ashamed of. Great rugby, it's like watching the Sharks on a good day, but in miniature.
This coming weekend Prep play host to a rugby festival. Prep schools from all over are coming, including Rondebosch, Sacs and Wynberg from Cape Town. It's a whole new world of rugby.
INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener in his latest grumpy newsletter laments the latest GDP figures and the government's failure to discover an "Aha!" moment where it realises something isn't working.
"There were scenes of shock and horror when Stats SA revealed that GDP in the first quarter had slumped 2.2% (annualised) from the previous three months. The wonks were soon out there waving their hands trying to explain such a dreadful number.
"The idea that Q1 figures are always down from Q4 (Christmas season) doesn't really fly because, in recognition of just this phenomenon, Stats SA makes seasonal adjustments to the data. What we can say however is that these large swings of a parameter measured in several trillions of rands and the general 'look and feel' of all the numbers makes seasoned data diggers uneasy as to the quality and accuracy of much which is so diligently published.
"It should be noted, however, that the highest growth was recorded in the Government sector, while Manufacturing, surely the cradle for job creation, showed the largest contraction. And there is the nub of the nation's real problem.
"It's nearly impossible to get people to change their mind about matters of political philosophy despite truckloads of evidence that suggest they are plain wrong.
"Barring a very few spectacular examples (including perhaps our current president) socialist legislation and regulation has been disastrous for the nation's mining.
"The nation has a long list of other fading and failing areas where central planners have destroyed value and hope. Frustratingly, nothing has yet managed to elicit an 'Aha!' moment that perhaps something is not working."
BEFORE you criticise someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way when you criticise him you're a mile away and you've got his shoes.
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. - Oscar Wilde