District 36

District 36

Boer War 2.0 … from Dungarvan to Pretoria, a rugby story for fans and non-fans 

14 September 2007

There was a crowd in the snug of the Anchor on the quay, watching a group match in the Rugby World Cup. Two Afrikaner doctors at the back of the crowd understandably savoured the sight of their team whitewashing England 36-0.

One gave a running commentary just for the benefit of the scattered, fuming Englishmen in the throng, which, being otherwise Irish, was reluctant to snigger – at least openly – in front of these English people, whom they knew.

Nonetheless he kept pushing, knowing the dam of politeness holding back the guffaws would burst eventually, which it did.

For someone like me, a late arrival, standing behind the Afrikaners was much more interesting, in an anthropological sense, than anything on TV, and anyway the rugby crowd would melt away after the match.

I noticed that, for a doctor, the commentator’s colleague wasn’t too well up on the English words for the, eh, ‘sports’ injuries being incurred by the English for bad measure.

Wat is “hamstring” ?

After that and similar asides, the coup de grace in the public commentary finally came during a long stoppage.

It was for the river of blood (“Cor blimey”) that just happened to be running down the face of a different English player.

Efrika is a taff cantry, boys. No place for cissies.