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banner Friday, 2 November, 2001, 18:01 GMT
A model cricketer
BBC Sport Online columnist Neil McKenzie
BBC Sport Online columnist Neil McKenzie does a spot of modelling and watches his team-mates take on the rugby boys.

So Test match cricket is upon us yet again.

We said goodbye to the pyjama version of the game in Durban last weekend with a good one-day win in the final against India.

Shaun Pollock reminded us at our team get-together here in Bloemfontein, that for the next two and a half months, Test match cricket is the only form of the game we'll be playing.

That's if I'm selected for the remaining two Tests here in SA against India and the tour to Australia which kicks off on 1 December.

My couple of days off in Johannesburg at the beginning of the week were quite eventful.

Moral support

Firstly, the cricket boys took on the Springbok rugger boys in the Energade challenge on Monday afternoon at the Eastgate shopping centre.

This involved three cricketers - Paul Adams, Jonty Rhodes and Makhaya Ntini - paired up against three rugby players - Bobby Skinstad, Corne Krige and Neil De Kock.

They competed on the rowing machine, a cycle lap and a 1 km run respectively.

I had to go along with some of the other guys, Herschelle, Boeta, Nicky Boje and Pollock to provide some moral support and sign a few autographs.

The result, needless to say, was a foregone conclusion with the cricketers beating the rugby guys by a few lengths.

Makhaya did magnificently, making up a deficit of about 100m from Jonty on the final running leg to just pip Neil De Kock at the tape.

However, Jonty was adjudged to have taken a wrong turn somewhere on the cycle course so it was decided that there should be a re-run of just the running event with two new competitors.

Still in his jeans and not really ready for a run-off, up stepped Boeta Dippenaar against the hurly-burly hulk of Andre Venter, the springbok loose forward.

Respect for models

Boeta tried in vain and did us all proud but Andre's superior strength and fitness was just enough to pip him at the post and so the rugger boys ended up beating the cricketers by half a length!

Two days later I was in-front of the cameras, this time for a modelling shoot for one of our fashion magazines, Cosmopolitan.

Let me tell you I`ve found a new respect for models and the job they have to perform.

As for me I'm realistic, I`ll definitely stick to hitting a ball with a stick.

Hopefully, for the remainder of the season most of our guys will remain injury free and this will help towards ensuring a good series against the Indians and later the Aussies.

Until the next time, this is Neil McKenzie from Bloemfontein for BBC Sport Online.

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