Even the Sevens let us down (or) is Kevin his own worst enemy?

2015-05-20 06:00

SEVENS RUGBY is the baby of the family, the little brother of the 15-man game – and it seemed last Sunday morning that the miserable week South African rugby lovers had endured might hopefully be set to rights in the 14 minutes of the quarterfinal of this year’s last 2015 tournament at London’s Twickenham Stadium.

But after a week in which the cream of SA rugby had suffered four defeats – Bulls 18, Blues 23; Sharks 18, Waratahs 33; Lions 20, Brumbies 30; Cheetahs 24, Highlanders 45; Stormers, a bye – not even the Blitz Bokke could rescue the situation.

It seemed so simple. All the Bokke had to do in their quarterfinal against Fiji was come away with a win, no matter how small, to be crowned 2015 Sevens champions – the reason for this being that their total for the competition as a whole could then not be bettered. But, the way things turned out, it wasn’t that simple.

Seemingly overawed by the occasion, the Bokke were out-thought and out-manoeuvred by the slick passing of a confident Fijian outfit who were 5-0 up within the first minute. What’s more but for a brief moment, with Chris Dry scoring and Du Preez converting, the Bokke were never again in the game as the Fijians pulled away to win 19-7. They had no luck in the Plate final either, losing 26-14 to New Zealand.

And that was that. Or, as the Americans are wont to say, “That’s how the cookie crumbles.”

WHAT to make of KP? It’s another tough one. On the one hand it seems Pietersen has been somewhat cruelly handled by the England Cricket Board and its director, Andrew Strauss. Though others might say the South African-born batsman has brought misfortune down on his own over-proud head.

Others, like British radio and TV host, Piers Morgan, don’t agree. Says Morgan: “Strauss, his friend of 10 years, has knifed Kevin in the back – a stab by a petty little man.” Others blame England captain, Alistair Cook – a weak leader, they say, who didn’t know how to manage Pietersen.

Pietersen, on the other hand, says he feels badly hurt and let down because he was promised by Strauss – like Pietersen, Strauss is South African born – that if he delivered in county cricket, he would be considered for the upcoming Ashes series against Australia. What a waste of a special talent. Almost immediately after that “promise” (was it actually made?) Pietersen delivered a record-breaking, undefeated 355 in a county match for Surrey.

Who to believe? What a pity such a talent should go to waste. At the same time, no player is bigger than the game itself. Pietersen, one feels, is just a little over the top in what he expects of the game and the people who run it.

Eric Rowan was a tough customer. He always spoke his mind, but not even Rowan would have placed his wants above those of the great game of cricket. Pietersen is a fine player, but no player is greater than the game itself . . . a game that, after all, brought him the sports world’s attention

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