Pretoria scares ‘Saders

Pretoria’s “high crime rate” has convinced the Crusaders to stay in the “safe resort” of Umhlanga Rocks near Durban to prepare for their Vodacom Super 14 match against the Bulls on 6 May.

This is according to a report by Richard Knowler in The Press that claims the Crusaders “won’t only be protecting each other on the field in South Africa over the next fortnight”.

In a poll amongst Australian players earlier this year, Pretoria was voted the most boring place to visit in the Super 14. Now it’s apparently one of the most dangerous too.

The Crusaders have also been warned to avoid any incidents similar to that which involved Wendell Sailor, lots of alcohol and a Cape Town night club during the Waratahs’ South African tour.

Before they left New Zealand, all Crusaders players were given a handbook by manager Tony Thorpe with a list of the team’s protocols. They were warned to go out only in pairs while in Cape Town and Durban, to sign a book at reception before they leave and to recognise a curfew.

In “crime-ridden” Pretoria, Crusaders players are not permitted to leave the hotel unless with the rest of the team. Management also vets bars for the players to visit after their matches.

All of this raises the question: how will the ‘Saders cope when they have to visit Jo’burg next year?

South African incidents involving Kiwi sportsmen:

- There was a scrap between two forwards in Johannesburg after the All Blacks beat the Springboks at Ellis Park in 1992.

- In 1999, Chiefs back Bruce Reihana was involved in a strange incident when the squad was sharing a Cape Town hotel with the Blues. Reihana marched over to a Blues forward in the hotel and punched him.

- In 2002, some New Zealand Colts players “feared for their lives” after being evicted from a Johannesburg nightclub and getting threatened by a gang of men with guns. Several players, including future All Black halfback Jimmy Cowan, were pistol-whipped.

- The Black Caps cricket team found trouble in Durban in early 2003 when Chris Cairns was belted from behind outside a nightclub.

- Last year two New Zealand rugby journalists were stung by a Cape Town taxi driver who recognised their foreign accents and drove at pace in the opposite direction from where they wanted to go. After a heated exchange and demands for money, the driver pulled over, reached for the glovebox and promised to “fix” them. They quickly forked over some cash. One of the Kiwis kicked the door in anger. Pedestrians taking a late-night stroll near the waterfront saw two Kiwi men “running for their lives” with a taxi in hot pursuit.

- This year Hurricanes captain Jerry Collins was involved in an altercation with some of his team-mates in a Bloemfontein pub.