Terence George Craddock (afterglows echoes of starlight)

* Victory For Tea Or Coffee? - Poem by Terence George Craddock (afterglows echoes of starlight)

Rugby World Cup Three
Final South Africa's in
whole world knows
Boar Boks can't win.
When crucial crunch comes
nobly bite the bit.
All teams except South Africa
play with professional sportsmanship.

Rugby played skillfully
with pride hard and fast
entire world knows
backward Boks can't last.
Drunken African after-match-function
South Africa bragged boarishly to you.
Would have won if there
Rugby World Cup One and Two.

Yes we all know
the Boks can't win
without the help
of food poison.
Yes method proven
during apartheid Bok sport.
But not of a world wide
healthy thriving sport.

Copyright © Terence George Craddock

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Written in June 1995 on the 28.6.1995.
I had a far more extensive split image version of the poem 'Victory For Tea Or Coffee? ' which was among several folders of my poems from this era were stolen from the so called Art Hotel in Westport.
The complex background to this poem is due to government institutionalized political apartheid, which was previously enforced by the South African government, South African had been banned from playing international rugby because of racist policies. Prior to the Third Rugby World Cup, South African had been isolated and prevented from playing international test rugby, and was behind in international style and ability. South African put a huge effort into building up the Spring Boks before the Third Rugby World Cup and managed to rapidly close the gap. The line 'backward Boks can't last' references the disadvantage South Africa originally played in with a catch up program.
The first Rugby World Cup in 1987 was won by New Zealand and the second in 1991 by Australia which 'Rugby World Cup One and Two' references. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have each won the Rugby World Cup twice and England once.
The undefeated favourite going into the 1995 Rugby World Cup was New Zealand. The All Blacks played with almost their entire team suffering from food poisoning, believed to have been mixed into their tea and coffee at their hotel in South Africa. Many questions remain unanswered regarding this incident. Politics or sport gambling are possible causes for 'the Boks can't win without the help of food poison'.
To quote Wikipedia on the bad taste controversial 1995 Rugby World Cup Final.
However, the after match mood soured considerably during the end of tournament banquet when South Africa's rugby president, Louis Luyt said in his speech that 'There were no true world champions in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups because South Africa were not there.' This claim that South Africa were the first 'true world champions' led the New Zealand team to walk out of the dinner.[3]
Subsequently, various allegations were made surrounding the lead up to the final. Many of the New Zealand players were suffering from food poisoning 48 hours prior to the game, which affected their performance in the final. New Zealand coach Laurie Mains alleged a mysterious waitress known as 'Suzie' had deliberately poisoned the All Blacks' water in the week before the final. During the match New Zealand players could be seen throwing up on the sidelines.[4]
Later interviews with some of All Blacks seemed to indicate that intentional food poisoning was unlikely, as team member Eric Rush said that they went 'to the Pizza Hut down the road' spontaneously. An intentional act would have required considerable confidential intelligence and luck that seems very unlikely.[5] There has never been any conclusive evidence of any collusion to intentionally give the All Blacks food poisoning, although they were clearly ill. Rush and others maintain that if the test had been scheduled a day earlier, it is questionable whether New Zealand would have been able to field a full team at all.[5] The food poisoning symptoms were gone the day after the Final, and that has added to conspiracy theories and accusations, although that also coincides with the normal course of a case of non-lethal food poisoning.
While there were other suspicious incidents that occurred surrounding the All Blacks team in the lead up to the Final, such as listening devices that were discovered in rooms and car alarms that were set off in a synchronized fashion around the All Black's hotel early in the morning of the test in an apparent attempt to disrupt the All Blacks sleep, most investigations have concluded with varying degrees of certainty that at least with regard to the food poisoning that, while a very real situation, that situation was also almost certainly not caused by any intentional act on the part of South African partisans. If it was, the individuals responsible have covered their tracks very well in the years since, as no one is known to have admitted involvement publicly nor has any solid evidence of conspiracy, nor has the identity of 'Suzie' ever come to light. The All Blacks own media liaison officer later admitted there was no evidence that the players had been deliberately poisoned.[6]
All Blacks coach Laurie Mains conversely argues that the food poisoning was part of an orchestrated campaign of dirty tricks by the Springboks and their supporters. Mains argued that ''It was just an amazing sequence of events and coincidence that, of our 35-man party that ate at that particular lunch venue in the hotel here, about 27 of them went down in the space of 12 hours. You can read what you like into that, but I don't think it was coincidence. We certainly have our suspicions....[6] The chief operations executive of the investment group that owned the hotel, Helder Pereira, put the story into slightly different perspective, saying when asked that 'We warned against New Zealand players eating outside the hotel and made it known to them that we could not be held accountable. I was very surprised to see the All Blacks and their management going out to eat on what was effectively the eve of the World Cup Final.'[7]
Whatever the true facts of how it happened, the All Blacks were obviously suffering grievously from food poisoning. They did not request a delay in the Final for fear of giving the Springboks knowledge of the situation, and felt that they could still field an effective team, which they ultimately did, only losing by one drop kick near the end of extra time.
However in 2000, some new light was shed on this controversy. In his autobiography, Rory Steyn, the former head of security for South African president Nelson Mandela, who was assigned to the All Blacks, backed up claims suggesting their food was poisoned. In the book One Step Behind Mandela, he wrote that just days before the final the illness hit.
Steyn says in the book:
We raced back to the hotel and when I got up to the doctor's room it looked like a battle zone – like a scene from a war movie. Players were lying all over the place and the doctor and physio were walking around injecting them. I was a police officer, I worked with facts. What my eyes told me that night was that the team had deliberately been poisoned.
He said the illness which had swept through the team had a major impact on the All Blacks' preparation for the final. I had to endure accusations of complicity in this, from New Zealand officials, and I was very angry that this was allowed to happen in my country – to people in my care. South African rugby fans remained skeptical of this theory and preferred to put it down to sour Kiwi grapes. To my fellow South Africans I want to say this: Stop all those cheap jokes about Suzie, the food poisoning and whingeing Kiwis. It happened. There is no doubt that the All Blacks were poisoned two days before the final.
Of the 35 people in the All Blacks squad, only the 27 players who dined at the same venue, the team Hotel, on the Thursday night before the final, became ill. The remaining eight all dined elsewhere and were unaffected. Steve Boggan, writing in The Independent (London) , also explored the possibility of the team having been deliberately poisoned. Boggan states that the private investigator that Mains hired 'established that a South African waitress known only as 'Susie' had been paid to slip Indian trick into the team's tea and coffee on the eve of the final. He did not say, however, how he could be sure or who had paid the waitress.'[8] However, Boggan also went on to admit that the events were still highly in question, stating that 'Some believe the fact that no official inquiry has ever been conducted by the New Zealand rugby authorities speaks volumes about how they view the claims. The new allegations were certainly not being taken seriously by the South Africans.[8]
3. Donegan, Lawrence (26 June 1995) . 'Afrikaans arrogance sours Springboks' taste of victory'. The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media) . Retrieved 21 September 2011.
4. 'OSMs sporting plaques'. The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media) . Retrieved 21 October 2007.
5. Sport Asylum interview http: //video.google.com/videoplaydocid=5727571184344259601#
6. Legends Of A Small Country: Urban Legends of the 1995 World Cup http: //thoselegends.blogspot.com/2007/10/urban-legends-of-1995-world-cup-final.html
7. Meads: Dodgy Milk Wrecked 1995 World Cup Hopes http: //nz.sports.yahoo.com/rugby/news/article/-/4219086/meads-dodgy-milk-wrecked-1995-world-cup-hopes
8. Boggan, Steve (20 November 1996) . 'Rugby players' food may have been spiked'. The Independent (London: Independent Print) .

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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