Autograph hunter – Watching big Bok win with Wallabies legend

2019-11-30T20:39:38+02:00November 27th, 2019|

Autograph collector DR ANTON COETZEE explains how he got the prized signature of World Cup-winning Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones.

In 1997, I was the Nampak doctor. I did all the executive medicals, including that of the head of treasury, Dr Adriaan Steyn.

During his medical, he casually mentioned he was going for lunch with Naas Botha and Nick Farr-Jones afterwards and to the Tri-Nations match between the Springboks and Wallabies at Loftus the next day.

When I told him I was jealous, he said he would speak to Nick, a commodities trader with Société Générale, and try to get me a ticket for the game.

He did and also invited me to the Société Générale hospitality tent, where I was fortunate enough to spend the afternoon drinking free beer and talking rugby with Nick.

I had brought the tournament programme from the 1995 World Cup, which had Nick on the cover, with me and he signed it in the hospitality tent before the game.

Nick is such a modest, friendly, unassuming guy.

I remember him telling me that he thought that even though the All Blacks were dominant, they would be past their best by the time the 1999 World Cup arrived and that the tournament would be won by the Springboks or Wallabies. (They were prophetic words and I still have nightmares about Steven Larkham’s semi-final drop goal against the Boks, which Joel Stransky modestly told me was the best in World Cup history).

On 23 August 1997, I sat with Nick in the stands as the Boks thrashed the Wallabies 61-22. I remember getting so caught up in the match.

It would be Carel du Plessis’ last Test as Bok coach and Percy Montgomery scored two tries. It was only when I did some research on the game for this article that I remembered that Rassie Erasmus crossed the line too!

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