At 6pm on Saturday, after the heavens opened and turned Loftus and the first Springbok match into a sodden Gomorrah of a mess that not even fire and brimstone could correct, a little African team made a big African dream come true for six Africans.
Sending out a press release to announce the first African team to take part in the Tour de France during a Bok match seemed strange timing. The naming of the nine men in the MTN-Qhubeka squad to take on the Vuelta a Espana, and the six Africans in particular, deserved a fanfare, a celebration and capital letters.
Jen Wilson settled in to watch the second half of South Africa’s semi-final against Australia in Glasgow yesterday with a beer made all that better tasting by the addition of international retirement.
Almost four years ago she was playing for South Africa in a semi-final in the Delhi Commonwealth Games. They lost that semi-final, against New Zealand, and then, heartbreakingly, the bronze medal match against England.
On the front garden of a house high on a hill overlooking JBay, a group of South African sporting icons looked down to the swell and cut of the sea, and smiled at the end of two days of an event that may just have been the most fun in sport.
The Oakley X-Over Challenge – a three-sport, two-day romp on bicycle, golf course and surfboard – had been a mad, tumbling, laughing, drinking maelstrom of fun.
Seth Hulley, \[johan.desmidt\]thesports marketing manager of Oakley South Africa and a former professional surfer, had seen it in the smiles of the 12 he had invited.
Before he announced the South African team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Wednesday, Gideon Sam, the president of the SA Sports Confederations and Olympic Committee, spoke about selection criteria. He spoke about them at length and in detail.
“Let me start with the criteria,” said Sam, “so that we don’t have hang-ups about it later.”
When the South African team, management and administrators came back from the London Olympics, the presidents of all the federations got together. They took a “couple of decisions on the (selection) criteria going forward”.
The news that Ryan Giggs was the star signing for SuperSport’s World Cup team made the Times of London on Wednesday. “Giggs poised for World Cup pundit role,” read the headline, but the story, a brief one, was more concerned with politics at Manchester United.
“Ryan Giggs may be asked to assess Louis van Gaal’s performance as Holland coach when serving as a World Cup analyst on a South African cable TV channel next month,” wrote the Times. “SuperSport, says Giggs – who retired from playing after being appointed United’s assistant manager on Monday – will be its star studio pundit in Brazil.”