Capostagno in the 'cupboard'?
Rob Houwing’s 'Tops on the Telly' column
Cape Town - I’ve had a couple of inquiries recently about why versatile, long-time SuperSport commentator Andy Capostagno hasn’t featured much - if at all? - behind the mike in the early parts of the 2012 Super Rugby season.
They have been from people obviously partial to Capostagno, British-born but for many years part of the South African furniture on rugby and, usually to a lesser extent, cricket.
The matter hadn’t especially crossed my mind but they are probably right: I don’t recall hearing his voice in the first four weeks or so of the competition.
At the time of writing I had not received the requested commentary list from SuperSport for this week’s busy round, featuring all five South African teams although two of them are abroad and two play each other.
Of course Murphy’s Law will probably dictate now that Capostagno reappears on Saturday ... but perhaps don’t count on it.
My understanding is that he has not been officially sidelined; it may simply be a case of SuperSport bosses having their “flavours of the month” and Capostagno currently not being among those given priority treatment on the roster.
There’s still heaps of rugby on the itinerary for the year so I imagine he will surface again more prominently at some stage.
Personally, I have always found him a calm, diligent and assuring presence behind the rugby mike, with a genuine passion for and fascination with the culture of South African rugby coming to the fore.
He has his critics ... but so do all commentators.
What do our readers feel about “Andy Cap”?
Rob’s Awesome Foursome
1. New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd cricket Test
Wellington, ongoing to Tuesday 23:30, SS2 & SH2
The Proteas have been refreshingly slick, professional and remorseless for the lion’s share of this tour, across the three codes. So they are sure to appreciate the pressure that accompanies them into the final Test, despite the comfort of a 1-0 series lead and the prospect of some inclement weather about. After all, the cruel truth is that if the relatively lowly Black Caps do somehow strike back and make it 1-1 at the Basin Reserve, South Africa’s more unforgiving critics (and maybe even a few forgiving ones!) will be tempted to brand the whole mission a failure and dismiss the various gains made. I, for one, don’t see the apocalypse happening even if there’s a nervous flutter or two along the way ...
2. Lions v Stormers, Super Rugby
Johannesburg, Saturday 19:10, M-Net, SS1 & SHD
Ouch ... you can appreciate Lions coach John Mitchell’s angst over injuries when you run through their starting XV to take on the Stormers in the only SA derby of the weekend. On paper this really ought to translate into a comfortable win for the unbeaten conference leaders from the Cape – the loose trio is probably the only area on the park where the Lions are relatively unaffected combo-wise by the casualty list. Messrs Strauss, Minnie and Whiteley are clearly going to have to work their socks off as a result if the hosts are to be in the running for a win here. Still, derby spirit can be a surprising leveller! But my strong fancy remains the Stormers making it four out of four.
3. Sevens World Series rugby
Hong Kong, to Sunday (various starts), SS6, some CSN, SS1 Sunday only
I know there are plenty of attractive Super Rugby contests this weekend – including four games involving South African sides on Saturday – but Hong Kong remains arguably the blue-chip event on the Sevens circuit and always makes for great television with its pulsating stadium vibe and the backdrop of skyscrapers. Plus the Blitzbokke have never managed to win this tourney; it’s time to put that right. Mind you, being lumped in the same group as New Zealand makes that a tough proposition! Some key telly times for you: SA v Wales (Friday, 14:08), SA v USA (Saturday, 04:58), SA v NZ (Saturday, 13:08), Cup final (Sunday, 13:00).
4. F1 Malaysian Grand Prix motorsport
Sepang, Sunday 10:00, SS2, SH2 & Maximo
Have your Sunday lie-in ... then get the coffee on quick, in time for the agreeable 10:00 start in our terms to the Malaysian GP, the second of the season. It is the 14th time this race, one marked by its stamina-testing humidity even if it isn’t actually raining, is held. The McLarens of Britons Messrs Button and Hamilton got off to a dream, one-two start at Melbourne to open the season, although the defending champion at this circuit is Red Bull’s overall title-holder Sebastian Vettel, who won the 2011 race from pole position. Button will doubtless aim to fare better than his fourth here last time out ...