Saturday 23 March 2019

Cabin fever all round

Meyer and his South Africa team will don their Springbok old school blazers again on Friday for the third-place play-off, but you can sense it is a scant consolation prize for him.
Meyer and his South Africa team will don their Springbok old school blazers again on Friday for the third-place play-off, but you can sense it is a scant consolation prize for him.

Conor McNamara

"It's just not right, a bit like kissing your sister." That's how Heyneke Meyer describes the 'Bronze Final'. Meyer and his South Africa team will don their Springbok old school blazers again on Friday for the third-place play-off, but you can sense it is a scant consolation prize for him.

As we approach the final weekend of this amazing Rugby World Cup you can see cabin fever etched on some of the faces. You can easily spot the foreign journalists who are down to their last clean pair of clothes. These guys have been on the road for probably 10 weeks now. London hotel laundry bills are very pricey - probably not claimable on expenses - and home is just a week away. Australia coach Michael Cheika looks like a man living out of a suitcase. His unshaven stubble complements his 'hoodie underneath a suit jacket' combo.

Cheika provides an antithesis to the formal attire chosen by the other three coaches who reached the semi-final.

Argentina's Daniel Hourcade and his backroom staff looked like an ageing, but still hip, boy band in their Val Doonican turtlenecks. The black suit, white shirt, black tie staple uniform worn Steve Hansen and the All Blacks' backroom staff give the appearance that they have just popped by on their way to a funeral. Lose to Australia and they will be.

Meyer and his assistants were not the only ones wearing green and yellow Springbok blazers. I also saw the surviving members of the South African 1995 World Cup-winning squad get off the train at Twickenham. They were having their 20-year reunion. Among them was Joost van der Westhuizen, one of the greatest Springboks, now sadly wheelchair-bound with a form of motor neurone disease.

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