Just play the damn match already!

My goodness me. I’m done. You cannot go anywhere in South Africa (ok, to be fair, I’ve only tried the bit in the bottom left corner) without hearing something about the rugby. The semi-final against England is tonight at 9pm local time, and though I have headed to the most remote place I could, it’s still all rugby, rugby, rugby.


Despite being English and having lived in South Africa for a couple of decades, I’m really not very bothered about the game, mainly due to it being played under the code of “rugby”, which is a silly sport [citation required]. But while I appreciate the level of excitement surrounding the game, it’s everywhere.
It’s ubiquitous and insidious.

And rather monotonous and laborious.

For me, maybe more even than the actual final 4 years ago.

It seems difficult for others here to understand my ambivalence, but look: different nations like different things, and rugby is not top of the list for the UK.
Sure, there are people who are very into it, of course. But that is a minority. Not like here.

Rugby here. Lots of it.

If England win: great – revenge for the final in 2019. (And maybe a little bit funny, given the arrogance of many of the SA supporters this week.)
If SA win: great – as I pointed out somewhere [it was here Ed.] I completely understand the tremendous unifying effect that Springbok success has on this country. Take the cartoon in this morning’s Die Burger which my half Namibian, half French, half South African (he’s a big guy) neighbour showed me this morning:

Look at that. People of both white and dark persuasions uniting against a common foe, and being implored to “remember Majuba” and “remember Isandlwana” where the English were defeated in battle in 1881 by the Afrikaners and the Zulus in 1879, respectively.

OK, mate. Placate your breasts. Over 6,000 men from all sides were killed in those two encounters.

This is just a game of egg-chasing.

I won’t be watching this evening. United are playing at the same time, and I probably won’t be watching that either, but if I am able watch anything tonight, it will be the footy.

That said: good luck to both teams and may the better one win. What ho!

No-one likes us, we don’t care

Uh-oh. Here I go again.

Oh no. Some words have happened. It seems that England, through to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup, aren’t very popular with several of the other nations, because… well… they’re England, I suppose.

Traditional rivalries with Scotland, Wales and the haw-hee-haw Frenchies are fair enough, maybe even Ireland, but I can’t believe that Italy are really all that bothered. Maybe after the football this evening? Still, let’s post the meme anyway…

And, while you can argue that they had an easier draw and and and… it would seem to me that England are also the only unbeaten team at the tournament. (And if their draw was so easy, how come theirs is the only pool producing two semifinalists?!? How curious.)

Not that that counts for very much of course, but it is still a STAT.

Interestingly, the same ref that SA got for their quarter final will be doing their semi final against England as well. The French didn’t really seem to like him very much:

And incredibly, there were even threats from Saffas in a game that they won!

As well as the more usual pre-game nastiness:

Hmm. (Also: Double E, Double F, if you could, please?)

I once remarked that watching a stadium concert from the back wasn’t like being “at” a concert:

For the entire performance, I couldn’t get away from the fact that I was watching a concert, not being at a concert.

And that’s how it feels watching the people watching the rugby. I have zero investment in the sport and so I can concentrate on what’s going on in the surroundings. And those things are often very strange.

Look, I get that SA are a great team, I get that it was a big win against France, and I really get that the country really needs this World Cup win. Oh God, I get it.

But the arrogance that has followed the victory over France and the feeling that the Boks are as good as World Cup Winners already – and if they’re not, then it’ll be because of the referee?

Meh – I really don’t need that.

Nice day – here, at least

While the rest of the world fights each other over land and religion and money and politics, I’m hiding down in the bottom left corner of Africa, sitting in the sunshine and drinking a beer. It’s been a bit of a heavy week in many ways, and so I’m giving myself the luxury of a bit of a day off.

After an early start collecting the Boy Wonder from a Clown Boxing sleepover, I forced myself into a 9km trail run. Well, I say “trail run”, because I did cross a grass verge at one point, so that counts, right?

It’s all pretty relaxing and pleasant sitting here and wondering which football matches I’m going to watch later, but then I made the mistake of clicking on a news site.

Foolish. Very foolish.


baited the headline. It’s a difficult one, because actually, given that the Venn diagram for Braai Lovers and South Africans is a perfect circle, this means it’s a warning for the whole country. But mentioning the braai bit gets everyone very anxious and so they inevitably click through. I know I did.

So what’s the warning?

Food prices are going up. Thanks, Detective Professor Sir Sherlock Einstein. None of us had noticed that, at all..
It’s worth pointing out that all food prices are going up, not just those specifically associated with braais. Look at the onion stat above. Great on Boerie Rolls, 63% more pricey than 2022.

This Business Tech headline comes less than a month after their previous warning for Braai Lovers in South Africa:

Someone is being very lazy with the headlines and stock images, hey?

This warning was essentially “Fire burns things. Be careful.” Good advice, although, I suppose as long as it’s not the expensive onions you bought, it’s probably not that bad.

All this braai talk (not least the warnings) are making me think about the possibility of having a quick one this evening (careful now) before it gets too expensive and dangerous


“Fancy a quickie for dinner?”
“I think you’ll find that it’s pronounced QUICHE!”

But this is a quickie. Hugely busy day and still stuff to do before this evening, when we are also doing stuff.

So here are a couple of links:

Is it because it’s driving through a horrific bit of Sheffield where bus peltage is actually the least of your worries? Spoiler: it is.

Also, this:

Decency long left the building at X. It flows from the very top. When former executive Yoel Roth, whom Musk wrongly accused of being a pedophile, warned recently about hate speech on X, CEO Linda Yaccarino’s first reaction was to play down his concerns. On Monday, Musk followed up: “I have rarely seen evil in as pure a form as Yoel Roth.”

More final nails are being added at an alarming rate.

It’s quarter final time (to moan)

The Rugby World Cup is currently happening. Millions of people across some of the biggest nations on earth have absolutely no idea that the competition is on, or that rugby even exists.

But for (some) of the nations taking part, it’s really very important.

Cue fresh outrage then at the quarter final draw, which will see two of the world’s top four teams leaving the tournament. It does seem that those top four teams: Ireland, France, South Africa and New Zealand could beat any one of each other, or anyone else on any given day, so in the eyes of the purists, that would be likely be the ideal semi-final lineup.

A quick note: at some point in every knockout competition you have to say goodbye to all but one of the teams involved.

And look, two things here.
Number one: we’ve known about the way the pools were drawn for a long, long time, so why start grumbling again now? Are you genuinely expecting them to change things around ahead of the weekend so that your team can progress with minimal effort?
Number two: just arranging for the best four teams to be in the semis? Well, that’s not how tournaments work. If it were, why bother with the rest of it (and see below at this point)?
Just have the semis and the final. In fact, why not just have a final between the best two teams in the world? Or – fuck it all and just give the trophy to Ireland, who are currently world number 1*.

Easy. Time, money, anguish all saved.

But no, actually don’t do this, because just about the only excitement at this tournament has been provided by the smaller nations. There’s absolutely no joy in watching a 80 point romp of some top country’s B-team over some part-timers from a bit of Europe or Africa that no-one’s ever heard of.
Dull as dishwater. Literally pointless (for one side, at least).

So relax, naaiers. If your team is good enough to be world champions, they’ll have to be able to be good enough to beat all the other teams to get there: those like England or Fiji or Wales or Argentina, plus whoever else makes it through from that top 4.
And it’s worth noting that all 8 of the quarter finalists were in the Top 10 in the world when this whole thing started, so it really does seem that it’s where you choose to draw your imaginary outrage threshold that matters.

Finally, closer to home, there’s the usual storm brewing. Cue r/unpopularopinion, but when South Africa win, it’s because the team is amazing. When they lose, it’s because the referee was dodgy, because “World Rugby hates the Springboks”. If it’s not the coaching staff releasing hour long analysis videos undermining the officials’ performances after a defeat, it’s the fans doing the same – and getting copyright struck. Lol.

Never seems to happen after a win. The officiating was good in those games.
Your reminder that it’s fine to be irrational, as long as you know that you are being irrational.

And a quick look on the socials reveals that we’re prepping ahead of Saturday already:

This is good planning, because then you can look back and say “I told you so” after a defeat, or simply pretend you never mentioned anything if your team wins.

People, there is a better sport out there. It’s football. And there are some really choice matches on this weekend: Netherlands v France. Norway v Spain. Iran v Jordan (woah!). Wales v Croatia. South Africa v Eswatini (met eish, ja).

There is an alternative. If you’re going to get upset about the egg-chasing, use it.

* I checked this fact twice, to be sure, to be sure.