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05 December 2013, 10:21



When I was still in high school it was mandatory to play and be part of the rugby first 15. Had you not been interested it was practice to end up cleaning togs by the dozen with a crate of stinking socks and a few under-rods thrown in for luck.

During those years it was part of the game to “Play dirty” and beat the hell out of the opposition who dare not appeal to the referee, doing that could have the tower of Babel strung around your neck.  Launching an appeal could also remove you from the team by a disgruntled “onnie”{  and disgruntled team members:  I used to play at NO.9 and being fed a handful of sand just before the ball enters the scrum, you are blinded for a short period and  making a bee-line for the water tap could get you ended up on the pavilion  for an uncertain period.

And so I can carry on until doomsday.  It seems that the spirit of the game has slowly returning to its crypt.  The game is becoming dirtier by the day and that tendency is strengthening by the day.  And all look the other way.

   It is worthwhile to stop and watch a soccer team at play  and note closely the number of falls the players take during a game.  Watching closely one can see that most falls and trip-ups are self inflicted and the outcome is a player rolling about on the field just waiting for the referee to award a penalty to the side. 

During the dying minutes of the South African game against Scotland a Scottish player was tackled by one of the South African players (14)  this player tried to force the head of the ball carrier into the grass and dirt even after the Scottish player was over the side line.  The intention was to injure the Scottish player there is no doubt.  There did not seem to be action taken against the player despite the crowd baying for justice.  In another case a player tackled the opposition by head butting him in the chest: 

However, I do recall a specific incident in which I was involved in:   I had the throw- in and had just put the ball in when it came out at the back of the scrum. The 8th man grabbed the ball and went for the line. This guy was a slob and of titanic proportions.  I caught up with him  a short distance from the line and tackled him (like a fool) and he collapsed onto me. In a fury he got up and started to kick me in the face. My jawbone came detached on the one side and my ribs felt like they were still in the scrum.  The coach arrived on the scene and shouted at my attacker and told him to:

Skop hom, skop hom, skop die blixem dood.  This was in 1966 and  I suppose Gawie is still looking for a victim to skop dood.  During those years it was quite normal to beat up a player on the field but sometimes he was dragged to the ablution buildings where the hell was beaten out of him and the onnie and the ref looked the other way. ( Gawie is not his real name)


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