Twenty years ago today, Pieter Hendriks did not score South Africa’s first try of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
He got the five points, but he never grounded the ball, pulling off a dummy that was bought by the Australians, the Welsh referee Derek Bevan and the entire rugby planet as he tried to dot down closer to the posts.
Hendriks told the story to David O’Sullivan for our book on South African sporting trivia. The 1995 Rugby World Cup was a whirl of stories, a time of tales and hope, pride and celebration. It was a “where were you when?” time. Where were you when Joel Stransky took an inside pass from Joost van der Westhuizen, who had worked an eight-nine move with Rudolf Straeuli to score the decisive try against Australia at Newlands 20 years ago today? I was at the Pirates Sports Club in Greenside, getting royally trollied. The World Cup was also a time of drinking, lots of drinking.
On Saturday night in a house in Parkhurst at the annual Absa Cape Epic wine tasting and lamb eating competition, the talk swung to Rohan Hoffmann.
The Australian referee had perverted the act of officiating in the Waratahs-Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby match to such a degree that even Phil Kearns, a New South Welshman and Australian through and through, felt obliged to offer an apology.
The Sharks, said Kearns, had been “pretty stiffed” by Hoffmann. He made, to put it gently, a mess of the laws of rugby, giving an interpretation of them that was so skewed and confused it seemed he had bought a copy of them in Japanese and churned them through Google translate before studying them.
That wasn’t the way Anfield wanted to say goodbye to Steven Gerrard.
They wanted a 40-yard screamer by the captain in the 91st minute to win his final match. They wanted one last reminder of the player who spent 17 years at the club and was at the heart of some of their greatest triumphs of a club in the post-80s era. But, perhaps, a 3-1 loss was the right result, an echo of Gerrard’s career, a player who could have won so much more, but was left wanting more at the end.
Finally, three years later, the English are beginning to get the true meaning of the classic South African slang: “Doos.” While, thanks to the influx of South Africans to the north, the use of the word has perhaps become more commonplace, the true meaning of it only hit home this week, thanks, it must be noted, to a man born in South Africa.
Andrew Strauss, born in Joburg, shut the lid on the Pandora’s box (to use the literal translation of “doos”) that is Kevin Pietersen, born in Maritzburg. There are, said Strauss, now director of cricket at the England Cricket Board, “massive trust issues” between the ECB and Pietersen. Confusingly, they trusted Pietersen enough to offer him a consultancy role. Perhaps Strauss meant “consultant” in the South African parastatal-government context, where you pay someone a lot of money to pretend they are employed by you without them actually getting involved.
Strauss was caught using the c-word in reference to Pietersen during a break in play during a Test last year. It wasn’t picked up in England, but, thankfully, it was heard by sharp-eared viewers in Australia. Some would suggest that if the South African in Strauss had come out, he would have called Pietersen a “doos”, which is another, much ruder, meaning of the word.
Kevin Evans still owes me R50. Kevin Evans announced his retirement from professional cycling last week, but he still owes me money. He took a R100 bet with his then teammate that I would finish the 2012 Absa Cape Epic. His teammate said I wouldn’t and I did. I reckon I am due at least half of that R100. It’s been three years and he still hasn’t coughed up.
Evans will officially end his 12-year professional career in September, just after the Karoo2Coast marathon race, which is conveniently close to his home in Plett. From there, he will invest much more time in running his bike shop in Plett, which is called, The Bike Shop. I reckon if Evans had been independently wealthy or had a rich backer with no need for publicity, he would have loved to have ridden for a team called, The Bike Racing Team. Evans has always done things the uncomplicated way, although his has been a career less ordinary. Train hard, race hard and never forget to enjoy a beer.
A short run-down on his achievements, which come courtesy of the official press release to announce his impending retirement: “He became a professional cyclist later than most, joining the paid ranks at the age of 24. While he’s primarily been a mountain bike racer, Evans has also excelled on the road. In 2008 he finished fifth at the Tour of Egypt, ninth at the Tour of Ireland and 19th at the Tour of Britain.