Sporting heroes and legends are born out of a combination of extreme talent that is put into extraordinary circumstances, putting the need of others before themselves. Whilst this is term is perhaps overused, a local legend was created last weekend.
During an intense local derby, where the lead changed hands several times, one player stood out and orchestrated a deserved victory with an outstanding individual performance. The fly-half kicked three penalties and set up their only try, as well as marshaling his team as they overcame their rivals by a solitary point.
However, with just 10 minutes gone in the second half, an innocuous tackle led to an extraordinary act. As the fly-half made a break into the opposition 22m he was hauled down, and a loud *POP* rang out. Fearing a serious injury I stopped play and medical treatment was called for – but the fly-half shrugged it off and was happy to play on. However, he has broken his tibia in his lower leg.
Not only did he play on, he kicked the winning penalty in the dying moments of the game! The player concerned has played at the highest level, representing his country and being instrumental in winning the Heineken Cup in 2001, but this was an incredible effort for anyone.
With echos of legends past, like the 1956 FA Cup Final where Manchester City goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, continued playing despite breaking his neck in a collision with Birmingham’s Peter Murphy.
Or Colin Cowdry coming out to bat for England in a test against the fearsome West Indies with a broken wrist, barely able to hold the bat in 1963. Or Paul Terry who repeated a similar feat in 1984 to allow Allan Lamb reach 100 and to help England reach the follow on.
Or Sale Shark legend Steve Hanley, who remains the youngest player to ever score on their international debut (and the highest try scorer in Premiership history), who broke his arm early in the match and played on in 1999 in the famous loss to Wales at Wembley.
To get to the top you’ve got to have the X-Factor. Clearly the inability to register pain is one of them…