When I was a young man I tried my best to play some rugby. At that time I was living in a town which had three teams. I could, with a little bit of bloody luck make it into the third team from time to time, but not regularly.
On a certain Saturday we had to play a game which was not considered that important as our position as first team in the league had already been secured. That resulted in the trainer not even organizing a single reserve. I also doubt if he would have found even one if he had tried.
We were getting really worried when five minutes before kick- off one of the lock forwards had not shown up. This guy was one of the older guys, deep into his thirties and clearly playing just for the festivities after each game.
It also was at the end of the peach and prickly pear season, with the result that old Long John’s people, who had a license to brew as well as a good still, had just finished distilling that year’s supply of “mampoer.”
Fortunately the referee for the match was a resident of our town and he and our captain were playing for time to see whether old Long John would pitch up.
Just when they could not think of another plausible excuse to delay the start of the match any further, old Long John staggered into our dressing room as boisterous as a finch in a fig tree. He uninhibitedly slurred out the whole truth. He happened to be a wee bit late because he just had to try out the first offerings of the home brew. He clearly took his task far too seriously and I also have to explain to you that the peach juice and prickly pear tears are not precisely the same as your ordinary glass of sweet wine. They easily pack thrice the punch.
The opposing team by then had seen the state old Long John was in and they started insisting that the game had to begin.
Our captain and Long John’s lock partner tackled him and undressed and togged him in what has still to be a record time.
So on to the field we went, old long John’s partner with Long John hanging heavily over his shoulder. In the hurry they had forgotten about the shoe laces and these were now trailing behind him. But the game had to go on. Long John’s partner was carrying his burden like a true Christian. He propped old Long John up in the scrums , lifted him high in the line outs- although at that stage it was still against the rules. So that at one throw- in the ball hit Long John right in the face and was deflected in the direction of the opponents.
“Knock on!” ruled the referee.
“ Not a hell!” countered our captain. How can you knock a ball with your teeth?”
At that the referee became very flustered and ordered the line out to be taken over, giving the throw in to our opponents. I mean, what else could he do?
The opponents were giving us a hard time and it was really not only because of old Long John’s state, but that they were crafty opponents. In the back line, where I was safely standing, we tried scissors and dummies, we tried by-passing and fake passing and sidestepping and grubber kicks and high kicks. To no avail. All the time Long John’s partner had to assist him to stay upright and his face was becoming as white as a sheet from pure exhaustion.
And if you tried to steal round the blind side of the scrum, the fumes would hit you like a bottle of twenty year KWV right in the stomach.
At that stage, you might still remember, loose forwards were allowed to leave the tight scrum even before the ball had emerged from the scrum. That often resulted in the poor fly half receiving the ball with a flanker or number eight already right in his face.
Precisely that happened after one scrum. Our number eight tackled their fly half nearly out of his boots. The outside centre and I smelled blood when the ball was dropped and was rolling towards their goal line which was only a few yards away.
Then I heard a strange sound. Somewhere behind me little explosions like that of a machine gun, interspersed by strange swishing sounds were approaching. My hair was funneled forward as a tornado of boots, arms, legs and swishing shoe laces shot past me. Close to the try line the tornado propelled itself into the air and at that moment I realized that the tornado was actually Old Long John, the bombed lock!
He careered about a meter or so above the ground and dived on the ball behind the opponents’ try line so that it exploded with a deafening bang.
By now the referee was smiling from ear to ear and his hand went triumphantly into the air to allow the try.
The opposing team’s captain became so enraged he could hardly speak: “ B…b…but m…mister r..rr..ref, he is just a bloody drunk ass!”
Old Long John was down and out for the full count. He was hoisted onto a stretcher and the flattened ball put on his chest.
All the way to the dressing room he held it lovingly in his long, sinewy arms as if it were a little baby!
In South Africa today security plays a vital part in any business or private home. This book and the volumes to follow, will guide you step by step through the essential precautionary measures to be taken in protecting your family and valuables. From employing security guards, evacuation of your site and security measures to burglar bars and alarms in your private home.
a Book compiled by me from experience gained after 10 years in the security industry as Industrial relations officer with Nosa qualifications, 1st Aid, fire protection and also S.O.B. grade A.