During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks and those of us scampering after them, were gifted an extended stay in Wellington.
The capital of New Zealand is quite beautiful, one of my favourite cities for the way it embraces you with the warmth of a village and surprises you with sophistication.
There are no statues of Peter Jackson here, although there is a sculpture called Tripod that celebrates the film and TV industry Jackson has driven and cultivated. There are no statues of Ma’a Nonu, but in 2011 a 35m-tall bronze to celebrate the World Cup was unveiled with All Black Victor Vito one of those who helped pose for the Richard Taylor creation. “The scene is a stylised line-out, a rugby set piece that serves to put the ball back in play after it leaves the field via the sideline. The players from the two opposing teams struggling to take control of the ball,” read the statement.
The hollowness of desperate defeat feels like it can never be filled.
It’s a hurt of “what ifs”, “if onlys” and “we should haves”, a never-ending repeat of a show you don’t want to watch but can’t look away from in case the ending somehow, if there is any justice in the world for pity’s sake, changes.
But the story of the first semi-final of the Cricket World Cup will remain the same forever, a tale of pain and celebration, of near misses and one magnificent shot, of the tears of a loser and the consoling hand of a victor. It was a game that will be remembered forever for different reasons. Two days later, it still feels unreal.
In the grand manner of feast or famine reporting and supporting, the Proteas have become the champions-elect of the Cricket World Cup, which is good. Seems a lifetime ago since that loss to Pakistan and even longer to the hammering by India.
South Africa did to Sri Lanka what India did to them – they played the perfect match.
The day after they had won their first knockout match in the seven World Cups they have played in, the Proteas scattered all over Sydney in search of surf, sales and solitude.Some went to the beach, Morne Morkel fancied some surfing, others went shopping.
Dale Steyn and David Miller seem to have taken on the role of class jokers. The bowler posted a video on Instagram of Miller walking into an Apple store, approaching an unsuspecting Faf du Plessis.