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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Time for cake … Ox Nche gets his sweet ending with Springboks at Rugby World Cup

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Even Springbok rugby players on a quest for glory are fallible. On the day of the final against the All Blacks, Ox Nche eyed a caramel cheesecake in the team hotel and promised himself a slice or two if the Webb Ellis Cup was won later that night.

Heck, let’s not kid ourselves, the man who coined “salads don’t win scrums” was going to scoff the cake anyway, but let’s indulge the World Cup winner.

With a gold medal around his neck, Nche said on Saturday night, “I’m going to celebrate with this cheesecake I saw it earlier at the hotel. It looked great and I am sure it will taste even better now.”

When the Boks won their previous World Cup in Japan, Nche watched at home on his sofa, presumably with an opulent gateaux, and he knew where he wanted to be at the next World Cup.

“I made my debut in 2018, I watched the 2019 World Cup at home and I told my friends in four years I would be at the next World Cup. And I am here, thank God.”

Nche was at a loss of words to describe not only being at the World Cup but winning it.

“I don’t know how to describe it. It is a feeling that is out of this world. We have a special group of guys that ranges from Deon (Fourie), who is 37 years old to Canan Moodie (20). We have the diversity and strength that saves the day when only a few minutes into a World Cup final our starting hooker goes down. And we had lost Malcolm Marx earlier in the tournament. We know that if we stay united, we can achieve anything, which is what we have done. That’s what it means to me.”

The Boks won the World Cup the hard way, with one-point victories in three matches in a row. Nche says this reveals the toughness of South Africans.

“It shows our resilience. In South Africa that is what we are made of. When you think we are down that’s when we come out and shock you and show you that we can achieve anything.”

The man who packs down behind Nche in the set scrums is Eben Etzebeth, who has been nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year Award. The outcome would have been known late last night.

“Eben is a legend. I play with him at the Sharks as well. You’d be very shocked at what type of person he is. He has a lot of humility… even though you don’t see it on the field much. He is a great guy, and a good leader, and deserves to win that award. I hope it happens.”

@MikeGreenaway67

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