What I felt it was missing though was that actual intensity of the matches as they were played. That's why it was such a pleasure to catch 'The 16th man' on ESPN. Morgan Freeman narrated much of this documentary, but this time it was easier to just enjoy his beautiful delivery than to have to worry about whether I liked him playing the role of Nelson Mandela.
The reality of the match scenes and the footage of the real ANC movers and shakers, who hated the Afrikaaners with all their being, coming to acknowledge that Mandela's hand of friendship across that terrible divide and support for the detested Springboks was much more powerful than any Hollywood movie could possibly muster.
One of the key elements of the story was the fear and respect that even the mighty Springboks held for Jonah Lomu
Incredible to note that throughout his career the big man suffered from a debilitating nephrotic syndrome and yet still achieved what most mere mortals can only dream of.
As powerful as any imagery though was the reading of the poem which inspired the movie title.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Incredible to think that these stoic words from a Victorian poet could have helped Nelson Mandela not just to survive his incarceration, not just to win over his oppressors and become their master but to inspire them to their own glory over the mighty opposition which was the Lomu inspired All Blacks.
Anyone got any ideas for Sunday?