Donald McRae
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/ 19 October 2007

‘It’s time for new heroes’

‘I’ve believed for a long time now that South Africa are going to win the World Cup,” Jake White says with quiet but utter certainty in his hotel room in Paris. Days away from the final, against an England team that White’s Springboks beat 36-0 last month, it might be presumed that arrogance or complacency underpins the South African coach’s unusually bold honesty.

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/ 17 August 2007

Schalk Burger: 100% pure beef

”You can feel the anticipation and the tension growing because the serious stuff starts this week. Whether you’re a rugby player in South Africa or England, we’re in World Cup countdown and suddenly it feels very real. And that’s just the way it should be — because we’re close now. We’re very close,” says Schalk Burger, the Springbok flanker expected to be one of the stars of the tournament.

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/ 13 July 2007

Carolina Kluft feels the pressure

Carolina Kluft takes a deep breath as she begins to explain what it is like to be the greatest female athlete of her generation, to be unbeaten for five years and still feel, like the rest of us, frazzled and sometimes vulnerable. ”I’m only human, so I definitely feel the pressure all the time,” the multiple world, Olympic and European heptathlon champion says plaintively.

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/ 1 June 2007

White Lightning strikes again

”I’m ecstatic and I can hardly wait for Saturday morning when I touch down at Heathrow,” Allan Donald says with typical fervour as he anticipates becoming a highly paid consultant to England’s bowlers for the next five weeks. Yet it is soon evident that the amiable yet passionate 40-year-old, known by the dramatic nickname of White Lightning, craves the position on a permanent basis.

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/ 21 July 2006

Ernie Els: ‘I’m not so easy’

Ernie Els, one of the world’s great golfers and a sportsman supposedly as relaxed as he is gifted, looks suitably devoid of stress in his baggy shorts and cool sandals. He cracks the odd joke, says ”mate” a lot and even laughs on cue. But it does not take long to detect something less settled lurking beneath the familiar Els facade of an amiable swinger with the sweetest of games and most laconic of lifestyles.

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/ 26 May 2006

Making Pele and Edson better friends

Inside the walking, talking, living icon called Pele, a 65-year-old man named Edson still breathes and smiles and calls out ”Hello!” Sauntering down the corridor of a hushed Knightsbridge hotel in London, on his way to promote the new autobiography of Pele, the voice of Edson Arantes Do Nascimento is heard first.