Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Prized Possessions # 3

If you ask any boy growing up in South Africa what they would love to be one day, the answer would probably be a Springbok rugby player or a Bafana Bafana (our national soccer side) soccer player.

For me, it was always the former. The Springboks have always been the epitomy of excellence, in my eyes in any case. I remember seeing a Springbok rugby player at my school once, I was so in awe I just stared, couldn`t get a word out.

Unfortunately I was never good enough. I was a decent flyhalf (number 10) at school but that is basically where it ended for me. I was always a better cricket player and pursued that after school.

However, my number 1 side has always been the Springboks. Man, I love that team!
So, it happened that I became mates with a promising young rugby player during the late 90`s. This guy was unbelievable. He had the best sidestep you would ever see and his pace off the mark was incredible. I have always been blatantly biased. So for me, he has always been the best in the world! He went through the ranks and played for all the age level Springbok sides. He started making a name for himself with his provincial team, the Lions, and then made it into the Cats Super 12 side where he was an immediate star.

Then in 2002, my mate Andre Pretorius, was picked to play for the Springboks against Wales in Bloemfontein. We were all euphoric! We travelled to go watch him make his debut. He shined in that game and has shined ever since. Unfortunately he has had rotten luck with injuries but whenever he plays, he is awesome.

In 2007 he won the World Cup with the Springboks and during the tournament he broke the appearance record for most tests at flyhalf for South Africa.

Andre got a terrible ankle injury just after the World Cup and has been out of rugby since November 2007. I`m sure he still has a lot of rugby in him and will no doubt don his beloved Green and Gold again.

So my Prized Possession is this Springbok Jersey that Andre gave me. He played in this jersey against Argentina in Buenos Aires. How cool is that? I have a REAL Springbok jersey worn in a REAL test match by a REAL Springbok legend!

The cool thing about this? Andre is still the naughty little bugger I met 10 years ago. He has not changed one bit as a person and I think that is the greatest compliment I can pay him.


Hayley said...

Sweetie, are you name dropping again?

Hayley said...

Just kidding, great post!

Keith said...

Francois, it is amazing how us as South African men are so sports mad! Andre is a great player and I agree he still has a lot to offer South Africa. Anyway, although we sell Springbok jersey's daily, nothing can match the uniqueness of a actual players jersey that has been played in.

Francois said...

Hi Keith

I agree, it really is very special to me. Andre gave me a Springbok pullover from the World Cup and that will soon feature on my list also! If I can i`ll wear it every day!!!

Just to let you know I have always supported your group. I bought the replica world cup jersey from the one in the V&A in December. Anyhow, keep well and nice to chat to you!

David Richardson said...

As an American, I've never seen rugby played. My guess is it's a pretty physical sport. I'll have to YouTube this sport and this guy to have a look.

I hope life is treating you well in your corner of the woods!

Francois said...

Hi David! Rugby is basically like your gridiron, without padding and helmets!!! Very phyiscal.
Oh yes and it was played at the Olympics once (1904 I think) and guess who won it that year?

If you said the USA you`d be 100% right!!!

Mia said...

Hi David!

You will find one of Andre's best tries on YouTube. It is actually the first video on the list if you search for his name on YouTube. His team (the Lions) beat Francois' team(Western Province) in that clip.

Sorry Faf!

Miller said...

GO Mia!

Sorry Broer!lm

Francois said...

It`s ok Mia, it was a pretty good try!
These days I`m used to seeing tries scored against my team, a lot of tries....