“Three Cheers for Sireli Bobo” is quite possibly one of the most iconic lines in rugby history.
Delivering these well-placed words in about as sarcastic manner as possible was former Springbok Rugby World Cup winner Brendan Venter.
Then Saracen’s Director of Rugby, Venter, was speaking following a 24 – 21 home loss for the Londoners to Racing 92 in the Heineken Cup.
A qualified doctor, Venter was and remains a highly intelligent thinker of the game. Clearly incensed by an earlier fine for commenting on refereeing standards following Saracens 25 – 23 loss to Leinster.
The fine would total £25,000 as Venter publicly questioned referee Christophe Berdos as one Johnny Sexton would kick all 25 of Leinster’s points.
A week later, Venter took an unusual route to avoid being fined again in his post-match interview. Losing the match courtesy of a late try by Fijian superstar Sireli Bobo, Venter let rip.
Starting the interview, he said, “Bit of Genius. A bit of magic. Sireli Bombo, very interesting, very good ja. Very good.. Three cheers for Sireli Bombo. Very good, very good.”
A few years later, Venter would explain the comical outburst by saying, “We were driving to Gloucester on the bus and they had the movie ‘Mike Bassett: England Manager’ on.
“It’s typical English humour and there was an interview with this really stupid coach. All he did was agree with the interviewer:
‘Yeah, really good, really good. Yeah, really poor, really poor. That’s me! That’s my next interview, I’m going to show passive resistance.” Venter chuckled.
“There’s another brilliant scene where a player called Ramirez scores three goals against them, and someone from the English team says: ‘Three cheers for Ramirez’. So, when the interviewer said to me that Sireli Bobo was really good I said: ‘Sireli Bobo, really good. Three cheers for Sireli Bobo’.
“My mother actually thought I’d been smoking something or that the stress had gotten to me. No not at all, it’s just a game. Edward (Griffiths) was holding his head in the background. It was a bit of fun.
“With all of the stress and all of the pressure that goes into rugby, spending so much time with nice people is just a privilege. That’s what we keep saying to each other.”
Now thirteen years on, this interview remains one of the very best of any sport and is a gentle reminder that there is still space for some fun at the top level!