Being a proud Sharks supporter, my friends know where my allegiance lies and therefore I had to field many questions along the lines of “So, what happened to the Sharks?”. The irony of the situation is that these questions come from Stormers/Bulls/Crusaders/any team who is winning the most that season supporters.
This brings me back to my experience at the haemophiliac hospital otherwise known as Loftus Versfeld. I was treated to having to wait for people in muddy corridors who had decided that standing and blocking the way while trying to decipher where their seats were was a good service to humanity. Finally settling into my seat I was then subjected to “Die nasionale lied van die Blou Bulle” which confuzzes me as I was under the impression that a “nasie” had to exist before a “nasionale lied” could. Before the game the stadium announcer proudly asked the crowd to uphold the tradition of never booing the opposition when they went for kicks. After some minutes of bruising rugby later, one Andy Goode’s first attempt at goal was greeted by loud jeering, I guess it was technically not booing but it had much the same effect.
The match itself was a hard, bruising encounter characterised by the inability of the Sharks to turn their first half dominance into points as well the whistle of Jonathan Kaplan (invariably penalising the Sharks) and the Bulls clinical finishing in the second. Another sore point (literally for some players) was the dirty play of the Bulls by targeting Pat Lambie with high balls and subsequently taking him out in the air without contesting the ball as well as trying to decapitate him. In short, the Bulls played dirty rugby and got away with it.
This brings me back to the title of this article. I have a friend who keeps telling me that I have to “admire how effective the Bulls are”. Fair enough, I ask him who he supported before 2002 and he says he doesn’t support any team, he just “admires the Bulls effectiveness”. What a way to cop out! To say that the general attitude of South African fans annoys me is putting it mildly. Where were these Bulls fans which packed Loftus on Saturday in 2008? Or even last year’s Currie cup when the Bulls were struggling? The people who are singing the Bulls praises were probably doing the same thing for the Sharks last year (until we lost to the Cheetahs). Even my brother in law whom I considered to be a thick and thin Cheetahs supporter has decided that the Stormers are his “second team”. What is with the whole “second team” thing anyway? As far as I’m concerned there should not be such a thing. You support your team, finished! Sure, I seldom watch a game of any sport where I don’t feel an affiliation to a particular team, but that does not mean I suddenly find a new team to adopt when my “first team” is doing badly. LOYALTY people!
Just to finish off my Monday rant, I have had a attitude in the recent past of not having a problem with the Bulls players while intensely disliking their smug hypocritical “supporters” who, by the way were probably Lions supporters in the Francois Pienaar era, etc. But that sentiment has changed, the filthy way the Bulls played on Saturday has meant I have lost my respect for them and I know view them as bullies (excuse the pun) who could have won that game fairly, yet still resorted to dirty tactics.
Now, before I end up breaching the website rules with regards to language I need to end this post. Before I do, I feel the need to remind Sharks supporters how much guts their team showed on Saturday, and may have even won the game had they been allowed to have some sort of continuity of possession which would have given them try-scoring opportunities rather than being blown of the park in the second half.
Well done guys! I am proud of the character shown by the team in impossible circumstances.Tweet