When I woke up on Sunday morning, one of the first things I did was to check out the wall and ceiling plaster in the family room for cracks. I even went downstairs to look at the floor and some concrete beams. They looked okay, but still, I was worried. I mean, what a clash of seismic proportions between the Bulls and the Stormers!
The Bulls came out firing sharp-point ammo right from the word go. No rubber-bullet pansying about. Must have been their pink kit. I mean, if there’s one way to make a Pretoria lad the moer in it is to force him to wear something remotely resembling anything girly. And it worked a treat. How long has it been since you’ve seen the Bulls that die moer in, huh?
Alas, they were met by a Stormers collective up front that smashed them back in the tackle, time and time again. My oh my, how times have changed: The Stormers are becoming the meanies up front and the Bulls, on the balance, probably have more skill at the back.
And what’s more, the Stormers meanies are mostly younger than 23. Elstadt was massive in the tight stuff, cutting down Bulls charges and stopping their momentum. Because when the Bully Boys cannot dominate the contact… then they lose. As was seen at Newlands, they have no Plan B. Morné Steyn’s game once again turned to shit (just like against the Blues) and they withdrew into the familiar security of the much-derided up-and-under. And when Morné didn’t do it, then Krusty the Clown Kirschner performed his version, albeit with a constantly open mouth. Does he ever close his mouth?
Eben Etzebeth going at it the hard way. The Parow way.
But the real hero of the Stormers’ pack was young Eben Etzebeth. At 20 years old he’s still a laaitie in years. But at 2.03m and 117 kg he’s already a man. But those are mere figures. You simply have to look at his work rate and controlled aggression in the tight loose. He’s fast, strong and at it like the Energizer bunny.
But he’s more. He is a product of genetic engineering. Not in some fancy pants high-performance centre where doe-eyed biokinetic graduates merrily trot around with clipboards and pearly-white smiles.
No, his were the hard streets of Parow. Ask anyone older Capetonian about the Etzebeths from Parow and you’ll hear many stories, some funny, most rather scary. In short, they were the hard men of Parow. Their names struck fear into everyone’s heart.
Clifford Etzebeth (right) on his way to winning a gold medal – at the age of 62…
His uncles, “Skattie” and Cliffie Etzebeth were known bar fighters. Cliffie himself – who last year became the world amateur wrestling champion in his age group at a mere 62 years old – told of how he and Skattie would go looking for fights in the Parow Hotel over weekends.
“It was easy [to start a fight], you know. You just take someone’s drink and wait for him to react. At the end of the month we’d go to the Parow Hotel when the Spoorweg (Railway) okes got paid. It was never hard to start a fight…”
There’s another story of how Skattie decked a young farmer one evening at a dance outside Stellenbosch. Skattie just carried on drinking casually. A few minutes later the confused guy got up and started walking unsteadily. Skattie looked up, put his drink down and said: “O, ek sien jy’s al weer op!” (Oh, I can see you’re up already!) and decked him straight away.
There’s another story how Cliffie (when he played for WP) was asked by Doc Craven to “look after Morné” – this after Morné du Plessis had tackled Naas Botha unconscious at Loftus. There were serious concerns about Morné’s safety, so Cliffie and one or two other guys sat down in the hotel corridor in front of Morné’s room, armed with a case or two beer.
Another beauty is the story of Skattie and Cliffie playing a game for Parow against UCT. The educated UCT boys were using line-out calls like “Pythagoras!”, “Aristoteles” and the like. So after a few line outs, Cliffie asked Skattie if he’d worked out their calls yet.
To which Skattie replied: “Nee, maar hulle gooi altyd op daai p**s met die rooi baard!” (No, but they’re always throwing at that p**s with the red beard!”
Ah, they don’t make them like they used to, eh? Well, not so actually. Just look at young Eben.
After the game a mate sms’ed me the follow bit from a Terminator movie, referring to Eben Etzebeth: “Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead…”
His parents might call him Eben. But I’d like to call him Ysterbeth.