I did say I would talk about the highs and lows of the tour, and yesterdays match certainly hit both ends of the scale.
We have all been overwhelmed by the tremendous carnival atmosphere our hosts have created. I’ve come to realise that to gain respect from the locals you need to fight fire with fire. Once you have broken through that rough exterior there is a competitive, fun loving Corinthian in there somewhere.
The red buzz before the game was like nothing I have ever experienced before, such great expectations and dreams all rolled into a scarlet shirt.
The boys have discovered a new science here in SA, it’s called ‘Drinkonomics’. The first rule of ‘Drinkonomics’ is that the beer here is so cheap that the more you drink the more you save, hence you actually pay the mortgage off by drinking more….tour sense at its best!
I digress. Taking our seats in the ABSA stadium was like being at a home game for the Lions (I guess the Lion is at home in South Africa). It wasn’t like there were patches of red in the stadium but battalions, no, regiments. In fact, whole armies of scarlet fans. The battle of the voices was resoundingly won at the kick-off by us, but the concentration on every fans face meant we were quiet for long periods. We need to raise our game for the next two tests and become the 16th man.
This tour is by no means over, the Lions must be a group of the fittest players on the planet. In the last 20 minutes of the game the Springboks were reeling like punch drunk prize fighters as the boys stepped on the gas. I think even at altitude we can run the Bok off the park.
I now understand the meaning of being star struck, an evening with legends like Neil Jenkins, Rob Howley, messrs Vickery, Sheridan and the man himself, Warren Gatland has left me with a thirst for more. I can also assure the concerned fan that they were all tucked up in bed by 10pm.
Early start tomorrow for the boys off to sample the delights of my favourite city, Cape town, so I’m guessing its Horlicks and a bit of TV tonight….right!
Did I tell you the one about the Englishman, the Irish man, the Scotsman and the Welshman?….