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Springboks might use Call 99 this time around

Greg Smith Roar Rookie

By Greg Smith, Greg Smith is a Roar Rookie

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    In South Africa, local fans are literally reliving a siege thanks to touring Brits and Irishmen. The British and Irish Lions and their fans have opened up plenty of wounds, not only of the Great War of 1900, but also of 1997 and 1974, in particular.

    Back in ’74, Willie John McBride and his touring Lions bruisers launched the most vicious attack (probably the worst ever seen on a rugby field) when they used the infamous call to arms known famously as Call 99 in the dirtiest game in history, aka the Battle of the Boet.

    Since then, South Africans have had to endure a near eternity of “brawl talk” as smug Brits and Irishmen have savoured any and every opportunity to revel in its memory when you’d think most decent fans would hurriedly bury the incident in their skeleton closets.

    No chance!

    And possibly to add insult, the standard operating procedure for the British & Irish Lions and their fans when in South Africa is to maximize antagonism. Thus, a full military kit is an ever-present reminder of the Empires’ triumphs.

    Fans in red coats and pith hats waltz around like they’ve just captured Pretoria.

    In 1974, McBride and company claimed that the Springboks threatened them with physical dominance, which resulted in a co-ordinated punch up led by the captain himself.

    Now, in 2009, Phil Vickery and his pack of forwards present the same physical menace to the Springboks. And I’d argue that if the Boks were ever entitled to Call 99, this would be it.

    Get the brawling out first and put the Lions on the back foot, then start an aggressive game with huge hits.

    With a 3-0 series victory on everyone’s lips in South Africa, wouldn’t you consider this route?

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • June 20th 2009 @ 1:55am
      Knives Out said | June 20th 2009 @ 1:55am | ! Report

      Do you know what I’ve just noticed, Greg? Bakkies Botha has little hands. How bizarre.

    • June 20th 2009 @ 3:05am
      Greg Smith said | June 20th 2009 @ 3:05am | ! Report

      @ KO – but never ask him to use his head – reasoning hasn’t worked out very well for him so far …

    • June 20th 2009 @ 4:54am
      Knives Out said | June 20th 2009 @ 4:54am | ! Report

      That was made abundantly clear when he tried to shirk his SA contract and run off to play in France, Greg.

    • June 20th 2009 @ 4:58am
      Viscount Crouchback said | June 20th 2009 @ 4:58am | ! Report

      I hope the Boks don’t call ’99’ because the Lions haven’t picked a pack for physical confrontation. In fact, it’s about the softest pack they could have picked.

    • June 20th 2009 @ 5:07am
      Knives Out said | June 20th 2009 @ 5:07am | ! Report

      I don’t know about that, Viscount. Lee Mears looks a real lunatic. You’d have to be a mad man to wind his clock.

    • June 20th 2009 @ 5:14am
      Viscount Crouchback said | June 20th 2009 @ 5:14am | ! Report

      The peciliar thing, KO, is the complete about-face by the Lions selectors. Their initial squad was designed to take the Boks on physically; now they’ve decided to out-run them.

      I suppose one should congratulate McGeechan for his adaptability, but he did seem to make an awful lot of mistakes with his original selection.

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