'Blades' in landslide poll win
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - Almost 7 500 Sport24 readers polled have voted fairly overwhelmingly for veteran Hugh Bladen as their favourite South African rugby television commentator.
What’s more, the gravel-voiced ex-Transvaal flyhalf claims the crown with a significant amount of daylight between him and next best-placed candidate Bob Skinstad, the former Springbok and Stormers captain.
We posed the simple question recently: “Who is your favourite South African rugby commentator: English or Afrikaans?”
Some 21 names on SuperSport’s regular microphone roster were presented as choices, across the two languages.
At the time of writing, 7 415 readers had responded, with Bladen way out in front, hogging 34% of the vote.
It is clear that the legend of “Blades” more or less precedes him: he has been at the microphone for a period better described in decades than mere years, and is thought to be close to 70, considering that he played for Transvaal Under-20 in 1963.
There is a drop-off of some 21% to Skinstad, who pulled in 13% of support for his own contribution behind the English mike, and nobody else could get into double figures.
Earning “bronze” on the poll podium is Naas Botha (9%), more prolific for studio analysis than actual match-day commentary.
Then comes uniquely burly World Cup-winning Bok lock Kobus Wiese (top choice on the specialist Afrikaans front, it seems) with 6%, closely followed by the industrious Matthew Pearce (5%) who recently took over troubled Darren Scott’s long-time anchoring job on chat show Boots & All.
There is four percent support each for two further past Springboks, Ashwin Willemse and Joel Stransky, and three percent for Gavin Cowley and Andy Capostagno.
But an array of others earned only negligible approval.