Readers will be interested to know that rugby players make a distinction between a wet and a slippery ball. A wet ball, they say, is a wet ball throughout — as, say, the result of rain. A slippery ball, by contrast, is a partially wet ball, where humidity and sweat have rendered it as slippery as, say, Bheki Cele when faced with last week’s crime statistics.The ball the Springboks played with in their recent friendly against Japan in Yokohama was a slippery one, and it is likely to be just as slippery when they play the All Blacks in their much-awaited match on Saturday.The Japan friendly was played at 7pm Yokohama time, in 31°C heat, and sweat was running off Handré Pollard’s forearms in, well, torrents. The game against New Zealand will be played in similar conditions and at the same time of day.Sweat, high levels of humidity and slippery balls, then, are going to be an important part of the World Cup in September — less so as the tournament hits October and temperatures begin to ...

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