VIDEO: The ultimate 'one-man show'
YESTERDAY’S HEROES: Down the years there have been many occasions when one player had an enormous influence on the outcome of a major Final. Jan de Koning looks at who he regards as the player that had the single biggest influence on a game?
In my 40 years of journalism, I have seen and reported on many major finals – Currie Cup, Super Rugby and World Cups.
I have also witnessed some truly amazing individual performances during that time.
There was the Joel Stransky drop-goal that gave South Africa a 15-12 extra-time win over New Zealand at Ellis Park in 1995. He calmly slotted the winning kick in the 92nd minute, after the teams were tied 9-all after regulation time.
Not to be outdone was Jonny Wilkinson’s extra-time drop-goal that gifted England a 20-17 win over Australia at Stadium Australia, Sydney, in 2003. Wilkinson’s winner was landed in the 100th minute.
There were so many amazing individual performance during the years that it will perhaps require a book.
It includes Goggie van Heerden’s amazing two-try feat in Western Province’s 22–9 win over Transvaal in the 1986 Currie Cup Final at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, in 1986.
However, in the 1000s of matches I have watched and reported on in the last 40 years, one match stands out above all in my mind – the ultimate one-man show.
The 1987 Currie Cup tournament was the 49th edition of South Africa’s premier domestic competition.
That year’s Currie Cup Final will forever be remembered as the Naas Botha show.
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Not even the atrocious conditions – it hailed before and during the game at the Ellis Park stadium – could stop the Blue Bulls’ golden boy!
Transvaal, with their forwards in a dominant mood, held a commanding 15-6 lead at a wet and slippery Ellis Park.
Botha, famously, told his forwards at half-time: ‘Just give me the ball.’
That they did after the break and he did his magic.
Botha scored all the points for Northern Transvaal by kicking four penalties and four drop-goals in a 24-18 win – their 14th Currie Cup triumph.
Most remarkable of those drop-goals was that Botha slotted them not only with his dominant right boot, but also with his left boot.
The indelible memories from that match are the number of flailing Transvaal defenders that slipped and slid past Botha as he calmly stepped them and slotted those drop-goals.
For me, that was and still is the ultimate one-man show!
Perhaps you have a better memory. Let me know which was your ultimate one-man show!