Rugby World Cup 2011 - South Africa
Rugby World Cup 2011 - South Africa

South African Pride

(Image : SA Rugby Fan)

“By Saturday evening,

it was good to be South African again!”

The Springboks big win in the Rugby World Cup over Fiji on the weekend, evoked memories of PJ Power’s rendition of her version of the World Cup song in the opening match against Australia at Newlands in 1995.

This weekend, that wonderful voice was nowhere in evidence at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, so was it some sort of divine intervention that our own “PJ” (Pierre Jourdan) should’ve delivered such a stirring performance under 61kgs at Turffontein?

His ¾ length second to Igugu in the Vodacom Durban July (conceding that heroine 2kgs) was always going to have him at the top of the boards, even if he’d been standing around in a paddock for much of the intervening time (just about 2,5 months), and he started the race at the tight odds of 17/20. That he didn’t run like an odds-on shot until the last 150 metres had more to do with his condition than his ability, Derreck David having to niggle at him with his stick within 2,5 furlongs of the start, and then handing him a couple of reminders to get him going with 200 metres to run. He looked like he was “gone” at that stage, but he suddenly decided he had just enough “puff” in him at the 150 mark, to get him home.

The transformation was instanteous, he suddenly changed into overdrive and motored his way through a gap, asserting his class in a matter of strides.

Where to now? The talk is of the Summer Cup, and that will probably be preceded by the November Handicap (or Charity Mile, as it’s known these days), though for a horse that has to carry the impossible imposts they burden him with, we might’ve preferred a trip straight to the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (at weight-for-age,) and then the J&B Met, where the top weights are suited by the conditions of the race.

PJ’s in good hands though, and their exemplary handling of the horse in his “prep” for the July, tells us the Alexanders will come up with a sensible programme.

P.S. The Springboks are back as well. Naas Botha was right after the game: everyone of them, “one to twenty-two”, put his hand up. By Saturday evening, it was good to be South African again!