It’s 5.29pm, Saturday, October 30 2010. Willem de Waal indicates to his forwards he’s about to kick off when 600 000 locusts descend on Kings Park Stadium. They are of the big, green variety. The locusts blow in from the north and settle on the grandstand like a blanket. There’s mild panic amidst reassurance from the PA system that the insects are not poisonous and actually endangered in KwaZulu-Natal. Everyone is asked to take a locust by the legs and encourage it to fly. Darren and co. waste no time to come up with some puns to make light of the situation.
“Province sure can use some jumpers in the line-outs today.”
“Yes Darren, let’s just hope we can get started soon.”
A young man armed with a leaf blower — identified as a “nature lover” by Hugh Bladen — manages to isolate the locusts in a corner of the stadium. The players return to the field. Willem de Waal kicks off with a high, hanging ball. Seconds before Alistair Hargreaves catches it, a hail stone the size of a man’s fist splits his forehead. The skies open and a hail storm the likes Durban has never seen comes down with wild fury. The Darren Pun Factory kicks into motion once again.
“It’s hail mary time here at Absa Stadium! Kobus, what’s it like on the field?”
”Everything’s covered in ice, Darren. We’re in for some figure scrumming that’s for sure.”
The hail stops. Ground staff try to clear the ice with a hose when the water turns to blood.
“Look at this — we have a blood bath on our hands and the game hasn’t even started yet. Breyten, you reckon this is dangerous?”
“Don’t think so Darren. Isn’t this why we have the blood bin?”
Frogs and flies pour into the stadium. Darren appears on screen with massive sores on his face.
“Well folks, it doesn’t look like we’re going to see any rugga today. I guess this is what happens when one team prays harder than the other. With me I have newly elected Saru CEO, Jurie Roux. Jurie, have you ever seen anything like this?”
“Ja, look, in Nelspruit we played on duwweltjies once. It was kak, but nothing like this.”
All of a sudden the sun disappears. It’s pitch black.
“That’s just perfect,” Darren says. “Now the light’s gone and we can’t even blame Eskom. Jurie, surely the game must be postponed?”
“Hell no! The Currie Cup is won in October.”
The Shark Tank is an unholy mess of flies, frogs and blood. Thousands of fans sit and suffer in total darkness. It’s PE ’95 all over again with locusts, famine and pestilence thrown in the mix. Most of the players are back under the stand receiving emergency medical treatment — only Schalk Burger and Bismarck du Plessis still strong enough to stand. They limp onto the field. Bismarck kicks off. Schalk catches the ball. He crawls past Bismarck and scores in the far corner 20 minutes later. Province wins the 2010 Currie Cup 5-0.