19 June 2011

Loftus! A non-report of a rugby match

Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not have much of an interest in rugby.  In fact, rugby reminds me of a less pleasant part of my life.  At the secondary school I attended, rugby was the holy grail, and academics and culture played obvious second fiddle to it.  Of course, whenever the school played a rugby game everybody had to attend to support the team.  And, of course, I never attended.  There was one exception: I did attend the last game in matric and found it quite enjoyable...

Then, for more that two decades I did not attend another live rugby match.  Until last night.  And again I had fun...

Of course my camera went along.  It is amazing what one can do with the high ISO capabilities of modern cameras.  All the pictures below were taken at ISO 1600 - most of them with a consumer quality 100-300mm zoom at relatively small apertures from the rear of the pavilion.  All were hand held, and most were taken using only the floodlights of Loftus Versfeld - the venue of the match.

Here Morné Steyn succeeds with a penalty.
(I had to look up his name on the Web after the match.  My knowledge of 99% of players' names and faces is nonexistent.)

The problem with the picture above, as everybody who knows anything about photography will immediately notice, is the extension of Morné's (yes, we are on first name terms now) into another player's foot.  That is simply unacceptable.  Here is the solution.
Editing reportage photos is another taboo, but given my lack of knowledge of rugby the picture cannot be viewed as reportage - and hence editing has to be ethical.  So, the reader is encouraged to stop reading and just find some pleasure in the pictures.

And then the ball is on its way!
(Given the removal of the foot in the previous picture, removal of two players in the background of this picture was so much easier this time.  Oh what a tangled [world-wide] web we weave...  No image tampering from here onwards.)

I'm not sure what is happening in the next picture.  A penalty has just been awarded.  If only I could hear what Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche and referee Jonathan Kaplan are saying (and gesturing) to one another.  (Click for a bigger picture.)
The picture shows an innovation since my previous attendance of a rugby match: now a radio controlled buggy brings something onto the field used to place the ball to kick.  At my previous game a young boy with a bucket of sand ran unto the field.

Another innovation since my previous encounter with the game is the addition of the Blue Bulls Babes.  Is it just me or is there some irony in the picture below?  (Again, click on the picture to get a larger version; look at the expresseions on the players' faces.)
The Babes do seem to add some colour and movement to the event...

Loftus is the home ground of the Bulls and most spectators seemed to be Bulls supporters.  However, Sharks supporters were certainly present and overjoyed whenever the Sharks scored (and eventually won the match).
The capacity crowd clearly enjoyed the game.  Interesting how disciplined they were.  (Note to self: Get rid of those prejudices...  Sport does not equate to barbarism.)

And Loftus is a beautiful place at night!

Oh yes, before I forget: The Sharks won 26-23.  My matric rugby match was a draw.  Nerve wrecking stuff...


I recently met Stephen Finn and decided to read his book Soliloquy.  Recommended.