I skipped rugby in matric. Sort of an act of rebellion, or rather a statement of independence, really. The next year I played a season of high school American football in Oklahoma. Sort of.
When I got to Johannesburg I was ready to play rugby again, but as there was little sport at the Wits Tech, friend Glen Barker joined Wanderers club. He had a car, so I joined him and off we would go from Doornfontein in the green 1969-ish Toyota Corolla 1600 he inherited from his gran to the field in Corlett Drive for practice.
I doubt there were thirty players in the under-21 age group, so we made the B side by default and got to wear Wanderers cheerful colours; Some games I remember playing were Oostelikes; Strathvaal; Diggers; Rugged mining characters, some of those!
At far-away Strathvaal we played and lost and I was removing my boots at the side of the field when a senior coach asked me to please fill in for the senior thirds – they were short. Their game had already started so I laced up and waited on the sideline for a gap. I ran on as a scrum formed and they got the ball. Moving up from inside centre I went to tackle my man and . . . . . was carried off on a stretcher.
Who knows what happened, but at about five or six seconds it was the shortest game of any kind I’ve ever played! Those miners were built like brick shithouses and liked nothing more than explosive contact!
a Strathvaal ou