Captain Courageous: The Journey So Far PT3

Captain Courageous: The Journey So Far PT3

Captain Courageous continued…After my big injury in the 1997 Currie Cup Final, I had to take stock of my career and the injuries I had sustained from a young age. I knew I had the potential, but I also knew that my abrasive style of playing could possibly lead to more injuries.

After being selected to play for the Springboks, and then missing out on the chance to represent South Africa due to injury, I was motivated to work harder than ever before. The first step was to bulk up as I was constantly being criticized about my size and weight. After 7 months of intensive rehabilitation with my close friend and physio Bruce McLoughlin, I was ready to start playing rugby in August 1998. I had little time to prove myself, so I had to play one game for my club and another for my beloved WP team.

The Western Province team had somehow managed to stay in the competition, but we needed to win all four of our remaining pool games to reach the semi-final. By hook or crook we won all four games and secured a spot in the semi-finals in a crunch match against a Griquas team coached by Andre Markgraaff.

At this stage I had gained a lot of confidence and wasn’t too worried about my knee. I was persevering and putting myself in a position to be selected for the Boks by Nick Mallet.

We managed to win the match in Kimberly mostly due to a torrential down pour before the game. The field was a mud bath and the farm boys from Kimberley did not know how to handle the wet ball. We may have lost the final match against the Bulls at Loftus, but I was chosen as part of the touring squad for Europe.

My mission was accomplished but the plan was to establish myself as a starter at flank and then push for the Captaincy. Gary Teichmann was the captain, and I was happy to bide my time. As things turned out, I made my debut as Captain in June 1999 against Italy in Durban. We won the game 101-0 which was a Springbok record at the time. It was a given that Gary Teichman would Captain the Springbok team to the World Cup1999. Or maybe not?

In the build up to the World Cup I snapped my anterior cruciate ligament against the All Blacks in New Zealand. I missed out on the World Cup which only comes along every four years. In a shock decision, Nick Mallet dropped Gary and chose Joost van der Westhuisen as the Captain. It was a classic mistake of discarding years of experience and calmness under pressure for youthful exuberance! Nick Mallet would later admit that he had a made a massive mistake.

The Boks lost in the Semi-finals to Australia who went on to win the World Cup. More disappointment for me and I was down, but not out. I knew I had one more World Cup in me and that was the 2003 World Cup in Australia. The goal was set, and the mission started 3 weeks after a major operation to my knee.

In case you missed the first two installments, see the chronicles of Captain Courageous on the following page. To book a 15 minute consult with Captain Courageous himself, make a booking on the following page. 

1 Comment

  • Enrique TOPO Rodriguez
    19/05/2021 12:25 0Likes


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