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Eish, Mara why?

SuperWrap 3, 2017

“Sometimes on the internet I’m known as Bitter Mara,” the page three girl in the world’s biggest Afrikaans newspaper told us on Sunday.

Mara van Rooyen had good reason to be bitter. You would have been too if you managed Facebook pages like “Hou by die Blou” and “Bullsssssssss” and your beloved team dared to open a Super Rugby season with two losses.

But Bitter Mara is also a woman of action. “Whether it’s about Oscar or the Bulls, I don’t take nonsense,” she told the reporter.

She certainly wasn’t taking nonsense when in the early hours of the morning after the Cheetahs loss she unleashed the insomnia-fuelled Facebook-rant equivalent of a nuclear arsenal, aiming it straight at the belly of the beast. On the receiving end: Bulls CEO Barend van Graan.

She was still not taking nonsense when she got a phone call from the Bulls boss two days later.

“We’ve already lost two &^%#$ matches this year,” she shouted into the phone. “We only played two ^$&^%$ matches this year,” came the helpless reply.

As far as sports stories go, page three was trumping the entire sports section. Here we had a real contest to enjoy.

And then it stopped. The no-nonsense woman of action had had enough. “We fought and cursed each other so much that we couldn’t finish the call. I hung up on him,” she told a disappointed audience.

Here we had the biggest Loftus heavyweight face-off since Gerrie Coetzee took on John Tate, and it ended with someone hanging up. And it wasn’t even a real phone that could be slammed down.

It was too much for me to handle. There was only one thing for it: I was going to write a strongly worded letter to the newspaper demanding my money back.

But then it struck me: I’m no better than Bitter Mara. None of us are. All of us hang up all of the time.

We live in a world where it’s become too easy to avoid opposing points of view and the world is a poorer place because of this.

An inter-connected world that was supposed to give us all equal opinions has ended up being a place where only our own opinions count.

A commentator says something I don’t agree with? Simple, just change the language option. A journalist writes something that opposes my point of view? Stop reading after two paragraphs, write an angry comment and go back to liking baby photos on Facebook.

It’s all too easy to be right, and that makes all of us wrong.

The whole of social media is nothing but a collection of echo-chambers where like-minded individuals come together to pat each other on the back. We only like Facebook pages that pander to our pre-conceived ideas, we only follow people on Twitter that speak the version of truth that we prefer. Whatsapp groups, we leave them more readily than Boeta Dippenaar did anything outside off stump.

In rugby boardrooms across the country we only vote for people that would further our own interests. Why? Because I am right. All my friends say so.

Stop it, Mara! You’re making us stupid.

The fact of the matter is that is almost impossible to learn something from someone that agrees with you. You can’t have a robust opinion if it is never tested. You can’t prove that you’re right if you ignore everything that you think is wrong.

Our world should be one where knowledge is amplified because the little we all have is added on top of each other. It should be a world where every one of us is as clever as all of us combined.

Imagine the potential for South African rugby if all of us decided to stop being right and start being useful. If all of us became each other’s students instead of teachers.

Imagine South African rugby if supporters spoke in one well-reasoned voice, if coaches all shared knowledge, if administrators understood that it is not about them.

Mara van Rooyen is bitter and the reporter had the good sense to ask her why. She told him that the problem was the Bulls’ senior management and coaching staff.

“They don’t care about us fans, only about money and positions,” she said, echoing a view we've all had about our respective teams at some point.

Mara may well have been right, but nothing came of it because all she cared about was being right.

Mara could have been right, but she was wrong. Even if only because she hung up.

Now for our team of the week, based entirely on last weekend’s performances. Even if you disagree with it.

Bok Barometer for week three:
15. SP Marais (Stormers), 14. Kobus van Wyk (Sharks), 13. Lukanyo Am (Sharks), 12. Clinton Swart (Cheetahs), 11. Anthony Volminck (Lions), 10. Curwin Bosch (Sharks), 9. Cobus Reinach (Sharks), 8. Philip van der Walt (Sharks), 7. Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks), 6. Chris Cloete (Kings), 5. Ruan Botha (Sharks), 4. Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3. Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2. Franco Marais (Sharks), 1. Charles Marais (Cheetahs).

Best tries:

Here is a collection of the best tries score during Round Three:

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Tyred 7s players

Heroes on and off the field. Well done guys, you really make us proud!


England: land of new zeal

It wasn't long after England beat Scotland so resoundingly that former England Sevens player and now commentator Ollie Phillips tweeted congratulations and a bit of a cheeky question - "now best in world?"

We're all too used to the English telling the world how good they are and make no mistake, Eddie Moans has done a brilliant job with the plethora of resources at hand, but surely they should first beat a team in black before they start crowing too much?

Stephen Jones, our friend in London, rubbed salt in the wounds much to the chagrin of the Kiwis, when he said their world record would be "expunged to the record books." He followed it up by calling the Kiwis "poor dears".

"England will go gliding into Dublin next week preparing for the presentation of the Six Nations trophy and if they win, they will make history with a world record run of 19 successive test wins. And New Zealand, poor dears, will be expunged from the record books," Jones wrote in the Sunday Times.

We can't wait to see who will be red-faced when the two sides meet

Feeling Rob-bed

Sharks coach Robert du Preez had some writers - including our own Gavin Rich - exasperated by his interesting press conference after the side's win over the Waratahs on Saturday.

As our video shows, the Sharks mentor gave little detail when asked questions, and never chose to elaborate, even when pressed about Curwin Bosch's 27 points from the bench.

It almost felt as if he was going out of his way not to answer.

When pressed, he didn't give any more detail about Pat Lambie's injury either.

We feel for the Sharks journos - talk about blood out of a stone.

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