Boks made a meal of England – with no need for salt

Rassie Erasmus looks like he’s going to have his work cut out for him if he’s not careful. He’d no sooner announced that he was standing down as Springbok coach to return to his original job as director of coaching than his erstwhile charges went out and won the Rugby World Cup.

Now, if social media has anything to do with it, we could have doing anything from taking over soccer, cricket or even the economy. One brave soul even wanted to give him Eskom to run.

He and Siya Kolisi and the Boks gave us a massive diversion, topped only by last Saturday’s emphatic crushing of the English who in truth were already counting their winning bonuses and getting measured for the morning dress they’d need to go to Buckingham Palace to be showered in honours by the Queen herself. Instead, in the now immortal words of Eddie Jones, they’ll be kicking stones instead for the next four years. 

A lot of the memes have had a picture of a delighted Cyril Ramaphosa in them, the phone to his ear in an imaginary call with Erasmus, offering him one job after another. In truth, despite the rest of us – if we are honest being a little surprised, if not downright shocked by the triumph – Saturday was one time that the president wasn’t actually (or at least didn’t admit to being) actually shocked, which is almost as shocking.

It’s been a marvellous week, even if most of us could go a lifetime without ever having to see Faf de Klerk in his South African flag themed underpants, which the cynics once ironically derided as a Y-front flag even it was revealed in 1994.

The joy has been unfeigned and widespread from one side of the country to the other. It is in many ways another 1995, another 2010. In a sea of otherwise bleak news, this victory has stood out not just as a moment of good news, but also in the way that Kolisi and Erasmus have handled it.

But not everyone feels that way. Soccer supremo Danny Jordaan doesn’t. He tried to downplay the entire Rugby World Cup against the far larger Fifa Soccer World Cup which Bafana have now failed to actually qualify to play in four of the last seven tournaments, unlike the Boks who’ve qualified to play in all seven and won it three times. Jordaan doesn’t believe the Boks have to, while any fan will tell you that two years ago, they might just have had to.

One-time People’s bae Mbuyiseni Ndlozi took the cake. He congratulated Kolisi and told the rest of them to get their congratulations from Prince Harry, which was remarkably prescient given what later transpired. Despite the outrage, he just doubled down on it becoming even more objectionable.

If there was ever a cup for mis-reading the zeitgeist, it was Ndlozi’s to lose. He should have remembered the age- old wisdom of grannies world-wide: “If you’ve got nothing good to say, say nothing at all.”

The problem is, as the grannies who banked with VBS will tell you, that’s never been high on the EFF’s agenda, unlike say their savings.

Originally published by the Saturday Star on 9 November 2019.