Springbok Factory. What it takes to be a Bok, by Liz McGregor.
Liz McGregor, in her book, Springbok Factory: What it takes to be a Bok, takes the reader to the heart of the matter through a number of interviews with important insiders.
It's been a dreadful tour: three games lost out of four and a whopping great fine for some mysterious misdemeanour. This is the first time Jean de Villiers has faced the local media since the team's return from Australasia and he puts on the usual, masterful performance. I hesitate over the use of the word 'performance', because that implies artifice, a show, when what we get feels utterly authentic. It is a sophisticated narrative that is laid out here, encompassing failure, humiliation and a vision of redemption, with a bit of tragedy thrown in. First, there is the self-flagellation. De Villiers and Stormers' coach Allister Coetzee scrutinise their team's role in their plight. Last year, the Stormers topped the South African log of the Super Rugby conference. This year, they won't even make the play-offs - poor discipline, too many mistakes, bad decisions. They own up to all of it. In change rooms and team rooms over the past week, emotions have been 'pretty high' and 'a lot of harsh words' have been spoken. Rugby press conferences can be deadly affairs, leaden with cliches and unconvincing spin. When De Villiers is there, it's different. It always impresses me how skilful he is at this, the part of the game that takes place away from the heat and immediacy of the field. With him, you always feel you are getting the truth. Not the whole truth, because much needs to be kept within the team, but enough to give journalists something real to write about. This is not as easy as it sounds. This particular conference is taking place in the concrete bunker under the stands at Newlands stadium that does alternating duty as team room and media centre. Next door is the team's change room and, just beyond that, the tunnel through which the Stormers will run onto the field in three days' time to take on the Australian team the Reds. All their energy is now subsumed into this new challenge: another chance to make good. The emotional stakes are ratcheted up by the declaration that the game will be used to raise money for a fallen comrade. Tinus Linee, 43, who played for both the Stormers and the Springboks until 2001, has just been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. The dread letters MND have already been made familiar to the rugby public by the visible attrition the disease has wrought on the once-hulking frame of another former Springbok, Joost van der Westhuizen. Jean de Villiers tells us that Tinus Linee was his first-ever centre partner and that the pair of them used to travel together from their home town of Paarl to the Stormers' training grounds in Bellville. He holds up his cellphone to demonstrate the epic tackle he once saw Linee inflict on an opposing player. He flips the phone to show what Linee did to the poor bloke. It was a 360-degree somersault. With these vivid verbal pictures, he brings to life a man most of us are not familiar with. (...)
This is an excerpt from the book: Springbok Factory. What it takes to be a Bok, by Liz McGregor.
Title: Springbok Factory
Subtitle: What it takes to be a Bok
Authors: Liz McGregor
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa 2013
ISBN 9781868424696 / ISBN 978-1-86842-469-6
Softcover, 15x23 cm, 214 pages, several colour photos
McGregor, Liz im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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