The Lions tour is one of the biggest highlights of the rugby calendar. Primed to occur in South Africa in 2021, the British and Irish Lions will take on the world champion Springboks.
What on Earth was Dr Frankenstein doing sipping coffee and tapping on an iPad at a sidewalk cafe in Cape Town?
It’s said the mad scientist died a couple of centuries ago, but I can report that he’s alive and well and still in the monster business.
He looked pretty good sitting there with his equally wrinkled pal, Methuselah.
Who would have thought that the bearded man, wearing a Versace shirt, Dolce Gabanna jeans and Diesel sneakers was the doc back from the dead? However, a pair of shades couldn’t hide a maniacal look that lingered in his eyes.
What a scoop! I could make a fortune by selling the story to the tabloids. The story might even push news about Paris Hilton’s latest fling, Kim Kardashian’s bikini and nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence off the front pages.
The trouble was that most folk don’t know who Frankenstein was. The name might ring a bell, but it’s widely thought he was a monster.
Was he pissed off about not being recognised as the scientist who created the monster, I asked after I joined them. Did a movie made about his exploits in a dark dungeon, where he kept the monster, pay justice to his efforts?
“People have always thought I was the monster,” he said.
“I don’t fuss about that, but I do get angry about a lack of recognition. It is not easy creating a monster and I’m proud about my work.”
I asked what he was tapping into his iPad. A plan for another monster? I could make out the words head, torso, arms, hands, legs and feet on the screen.
“No,” he replied.
“I am working on a new plan for an unbeatable rugby team. And those parts are essential for victory.”
Frankenstein a rugby fan? Had he heard about the Springboks, who Ireland had downed as fast as a glass of Guinness? This was no doctor jumping excitedly about his laboratory and barking orders to his assistant. He just sat there quietly working on a monster team that would drive fear into the hearts of other sides.
The doctor admitted that he made a major mistake with his monster’s brain and one that caused major problems. The monster at times sulked and even became threatening when he didn’t like the food he was given.
“The brain is most important part. A big man without a good brain is pretty useless,” he said.
“I did a good job on the rest though.”
When it came to a rugby brain, he liked the look of Pat Lambie and maybe Handre Pollard among the backs, but definitely not Morne Steyn, who he said was one-dimensional.
The ‘Beast’, Tendai Mtawarira, was a no-brainer for the torso. A fading Jannie du Plessis was too old to be considered. He also liked the look of Coenie Oosthuizen, but the doc said the youngster did not know his arm from his elbow after the way the coach had pushed him around from loose-head to tight-head.
When it came to arms and hands, Victor Matfield was his pick. That guy could strangle an octopus with those hands and could have leapt high enough to touch the ceiling of his laboratory.
“I am sure he could have sorted out even my monster in a scrap,” he said.
The doc was spoiled for choice when it came to legs. Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger and Marcell Coetzee were among the loose forwards he liked. For the feet, Bryan Habana was an easy fit. Frankenstein enthused about the exploits of the twinkle-toed winger and his penchant for clever interceptions and tries.
Wasn’t Frankenstein a touch over the hill to be creating another monster and a rugby one at that? The good doc, who showed he knew a thing or two about other sports, too, quoted South African golfing great Gary Player, who said, “Every time they say I am over the hill, my legs get stronger”.
Frankenstein said he had a number of other players in his freezer in case of injuries, but his monster team was already shaping up. Monsters, he said, needed power, speed and flair, a skill he felt the Springboks lacked.
Frankenstein’s monster side
15: Willie le Roux, 14: Cornal Hendricks, 13: Seabelo Senatla, 12: Jan Serfontein, 11: Bryan Habana, 10: Pat Lambie, 9: Sarel Pretorius, 8: Duane Vermeulen, 7: Schalk Burger, 6: Marcell Coetzee, 5: Victor Matfield, 4: Eben Etsebeth, 3: Julian Redelinghuys, 2: Adriaan Strauss, 1: Tendai Mtawarira.