Ode to a Tighthead Prop – Author unknown (but probly some Kiwi – they tend to wax forth after a few). The poem could also be called ‘Delusions of Grandeur.’
It was midway through the season
we were just outside the four
and although I know we won it
I can’t recall the score.
But there’s one thing I remember
and to me it says a lots
about the men who front the scrum –
the men we call “the props”.
We won a lineout near half way
the backs went on a run
the flankers quickly ripped the ball
and second phase was won.
Another back then crashed it up
and drove towards the line
another maul was duly set
to attack it one more time.
The forwards pushed and rolled that maul
They set the ball up to a tee
the last man in played tight head prop
and wore the number “3”
The ball was pushed into his hands
he held it like a beer
then simply dropped to score the try –
his first in 15 years.
Then later, once the game was done
he sat amidst his team
he led the song and called himself
the try scoring machine.
But it wasn’t till the night wore on
that the truth was finally told
just two beers in, he’d scored the try
and also kicked the goal.
At 6 o’clock the try was scored
by barging through their pack
he carried two men as he scored
while stepping ’round a back.
By seven he’d run twenty yards
out-sprinting their quick men
then beat the last line of defence
with a “Jonah Lomu” fend.
By eight he’d run from near half way
and thrown a cut out pass
then looped around and run again
no-one was in his class.
By nine he’d run from end to end
his teammates stood in awe
he chipped and caught it on the full
then swan dived as he scored.
By ten he’d drunk a dozen beers
but still his eyes did glisten
as he told the story of “that try”
to anyone who’d listen.
His chest filled up, as he spoke,
his voice was filled with pride
he felt for sure he would be named
the captain of that side.
By nights end he was by himself
still talking on his own
the club was shut, the lights were out
his mates had all gone home.
And that’s why I love my front row –
they simply never stop
and why I always lend an ear
when a try’s scored by a prop.
This try was much like our mighty prop Hubby Hulbert’s try in our epic match against the InjunKnees. Do you recall? ca. 1975
Hubby found himself lying down for a brief rest on the ground under a mass of other bumsniffers when an oval object appeared next to him and he placed his hand on it. The ref went wild and indicated we had managed to beat the Injun-Knees, a team no-one thought would be beaten.
We were dressed in our all-black jerseys, black shorts, black socks with OPTOMETRY in front and ZEISS in white on the back. To show our appreciation to our jersey sponsors after a few beers – also kindly sponsored by them – we would shout “ZEISS ist Scheiss!” – I’ll admit, sometimes we weren’t impeccably behaved.
That game against those Injun-Knees: We had spent 79 mins desperately defending our tryline when some scrawny scrumhalf type happened to get the ball by mistake and hoofed it as hard as he could in the opposite direction of where we’d been back-pedaling all day. Those days his hair colour matched the colour of our jersey; Nowadays the bits that are left match the colour of our logo. You can see a recent pic of him here.
We got a line-out near their line, Hubby fell down, the ball fell next to him and he inadvertently became a match-winning hero. He’ll call it a tactical move.
I forget if he gave a speech afterwards in the Dev but we wouldn’t have listened to him anyway. We’d have sung ‘How The Hell Can We Buh-LEEEV You!?’
The game was played on the Normaal Kollege grounds in Empire Road, Jo’burg. We shouted for our hosts as we waited for them to finish their game so we could trot onto their field and display our brilliance. Up Normaal!! we shouted. Ab-normaal!
On 2018/12/11 Peter Brauer (he of scrawny scrumhalf fame) wrote: Classic example of how bashful props become more truthful / eloquent when their throats aren’t parched.
bumsniffers – forwards; the tight five; the slow; the engine room; workhorses; honest men; no fancy haircuts; dodgy ears; the brains trust; depends who you ask
InjunKnees – engineers; they had a T-shirt slogan ‘six monfs ago I cooden even spel injineer and now I are one’
Normaal Kollege – anything but
2020 – a 1977 letter cropped up. Maybe the only letter I wrote in 1977! To sister Sheila. In moving home and tidying up she found it: