South Africa Survival Guide

For too long now, Australian Rugby Union teams have struggled to come to terms with playing in South Africa. And for good reason, the locals are thin, the air is savage. The distractions are numerous and not just limited to the beaches of Durban. It's also a long way and in the wrong time zone.

So with the experience of Africa limited to having spent a week smoking its way around Morocco and looking across the border at Egyptian security forces from Israel, the Rolling Maul is proud to present, for the benefit of the Brumbies and Waratahs who are about to embark on South African 'mini-tours', this South Africa Survival Guide in 7 easy lessons:

1) The flight over there: Deep vein thrombosis from sitting in cramped conditions is a real danger on long haul flights, especially when you have thighs like tree trunks. Avoid potential DVTs by checking your legs in as carry-on luggage. There is much more room in the overhead compartment for them to stretch out.

2) Food: The All Blacks lost a World Cup when a waitress poisoned their tucker before the final. To avoid any chance of this, don't eat. By the same token best not to breathe, you don't know where that air has been.

3) Acclimatise aschlimatise: 'Foreign' teams have always had trouble adjusting to the altitude of Pretoria and Bloemfontein. Get there early or get there at the last minute. Special exercises. None of it works. Yet astronauts have never had any trouble adjusting to no atmosphere simply by wearing a specially designed suit. Rugby players should follow suit - literally, and wear space suits onto the ground. This has the added advantage of providing head protection in scrums and tackles.

4) Language problems: With about 17 officially recognised national languages (ensuring the national anthem goes for over an hour) and another hundred or so local dialects, South African Rugby teams have always had an advantage in lineout and playbook calls. Take the locals on at their own game and speak Australian dialects, such as Bogan, Surfie, Bushie or Wog. Watch the confusion on their face when after winning the toss Phil Waugh says "Heapswickedmate".

5) Aggressive spectators: South African spectators are known to show their displeasure at refereeing decisions by storming the field and tackling the ref. This is unacceptable behaviour and is obviously designed to throw visiting teams off their games that aren't used to that sort of thing. Avoid this by purchasing all the match tickets in advance and flying 40,000 Australian supporters to the game to fill the stands.

6) Massive props: Os Du Randt was just one of many behemoths to play Rugby for South Africa and the tradition continues. Australian scrums struggle against these immovable objects, so it's time to fight fire with fire and fatten Matt Dunning up. Oh I see. Well we'll put that in the too hard basket then.

7) Schalk Burger: Supposedly the world's best flanker, Burger is a threat to the Waratahs and must be stopped. Well that was easy.

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