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I'm not an addict (maybe that's a lie)


For some reason, some pre-match build-ups are soaked up by my brain more than others, and it's quite unintentional I assure you. I prefer not to hype-up one game more than the next, and I'm not the kind of guy that places the face of my opponent on the tackle bag at Tuesday afternoon's defensive session.

I liken that sort of behaviour to the breed of human that has to pop pills in order to manage the most pedestrian of accomplishments – the one who had no need when he started, but eventually became dependent.

You shouldn't always need the extra help – instead trust life to dispense what's necessary, and if life doesn't, the band probably isn't that good, and you're probably not supposed to have Angelina's lips, and you're probably not meant to last three hours.

Life was feeling helpful this past week.

From the moment we rocked up at our hotel, my sense of awareness was heightened for some reason. The magnitude of the occasion certainly wasn't lost on me.

We arrived at the stadium a full hour before we intended to start our warm-up – the traffic from the soccer match next door was a bit of a threat, but they ended up going into extra time, and subsequently we cruised to the venue in record time. I sat in the cloakroom, minding my own business, perusing through the match-day booklet, just trying to kill some time.

Mister editor was quite colourful with his captions, and I remember the title of the main article reading something like 'be afraid, be very afraid'... I smiled, thinking to myself that the writer probably never heard of the concept of steering clear of subject matter that might motivate one's opposition. Lucky for him I was the one reading it, so it slid by without stirring too much.

On one of the other pages was a Sharks advert, and at the bottom right were the words 'Live to Play'. It was there where I stood still for a moment. I guess it's nice when you live to play, but that wasn't me, not in that moment at least. I was and am playing to live.

I guess we all are. We're all just trying to claw our way into a position where we can win this thing, trying to stay alive. Well, the whole 'playing to live' thing goes a bit deeper on a personal level, but that's a story for another column somewhere down the road.

Going to Durban, hell-bent on a mission to take four points home with you, coming up against a team that has their backs against the wall, in the toughest conditions imaginable, against some of the best players in the business… That's about as good as it gets for a player. I'm not convinced that many of the people reading this will have experienced a high quite like that.

One should never take these kinds of moments for granted. It really hit me this weekend, perhaps because I've done it more times than I'll probably still have the chance to – I am getting on with life after all. A memorable occasion then, even if the match was forgettable from a try-lover's perspective.

With the Cheetahs biting at our heels, I'm pretty sure we won't have to take the blue tablet this weekend either.


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