The National Department of Sport and Recreation is seeking an explanation from the South African wine industry after industry representatives comprehensively lost a rugby scrumming contest against a team of national Portuguese wine makers in the Douro Valley. According to Ballus Haarhof, spokesperson for Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, losing to Portugal in rugby scrumming is not only a national disgrace, but the Department is also concerned that the South Africans tried to keep their loss a secret from the sporting world.
“The Department thought last year’s defeat the Springboks incurred at the hands of Japan at the Rugby World Cup was a low point, but losing to a real rugby minnow such as Portugal is at fish-food level,” says Haarhof.
“We demand an explanation as to how this could have happened, and why this sad chapter in South African sporting history was kept hidden from the nation.”
Sources say the event took place at Quinta Perdiz in the Douro Valley where five visiting South African makers and marketers were challenged to a scrum by their Portuguese counterparts. South Africa was represented by winemakers Duncan Savage (lock), RJ Botha (tight-head) and Emul Ross (hooker), while Ettiene Gouws (loose-head) and Emile Joubert (lock) made-up the numbers. The Portuguese tight-five comprised local winemakers who, besides the imposing Rafael Mirandas from R4 Vinhos Dourhos, had no rugby experience.
After being pushed back in the first scrum, the South Africans equalled the contest one-all, with Portugal putting in a mighty effort to take the final match-up.
“The best team won on the day, or was it night, or early morning?” says Gouws. “But Portugal’s aggression, fighting spirit and co-ordinated shoving was just too much for us. The fact that we had exchanged our Vintage Port Sports Drinks with Iced Gin and Chicken Blood Cocktails just before the contest, might have had something to do the lameness our legs felt, especially after the second shove. But we are taking it on the chin and will be back next year for another crack at the Quinta Perdiz Scrumming Title.”
As to the National Government concerns at the loss, Gouws said that he and the rest of the team are aware they let the country down. “Yes, we might have under-estimated the Portuguese team, especially as their full scrum component weighed about as much as myself and Joubert put together,” he said. “But they showed composure, focus and aggression – despite our attempts to verbally intimidate them with jokes about mountain goats, garlic breath and sardine runs.”
Haarhof says the Government was still waiting for the South African wine industry to present a full report of the event. “All South Africans demand transparency – both in our victories as well as our defeats,” he says. “That’s why we ask the industry to present its report and findings at what happened that night in Portugal so we can learn from our mistakes and together build a great nation through sport and wine, our two most famous export products besides the glorious cartoon drawings of our magnificent President.
“But we have had no reply – their spokesperson must be out to lunch.”
MediaVision, media-consultants to the SA Perdiz Rugby Team issued a short statement: “What happens in the Douro, stays in the Douro. Except babalas. That thing lasts for days.”
– Lafras Huguenet