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.