This past Saturday the Springboks were defeated for the first time in history by Ireland in a test match played in South Africa. There will be player’s ratings, lessons learned and massive opinion posts all over the internet all week as everyone looks to tell us where Springbok rugby has failed. It’s definitely the fault of quotas, Strauss as captain, the size of the stadium, the direction the Sunflowers were facing and the choice of commentators on the day. More pertinently though is that Allister Coetzee’s men have to somehow restore pride in the national jersey. The problem is that it’s the wrong freaking jersey.
This plague of stupidity was witnessed at the World Cup last year when Scotland, donning their traditional navy blue, took on a Springbok side whose green clashed more violently than two kids from Team Justin and Team Selena. Of course it didn’t, but we still wore white in a match that carried a weight of importance after our, what is now seen as an ordinary, defeat to Japan, such is our form.
The only explanation given for the ridiculous choice above was that it was “RWC regulations”, which could be read as “rugby is trying to make more money by selling more jerseys and be more like football, diving comes next”. Trying to find reasons other than this of course are difficult as a Google search for “White” + “Springboks” produces more references to the ANC Youth League than to anything sport related.
Of course we have also seen it before when there was mass outcry in 2013 when the Springboks played in white and lime green in Nelspruit against Scotland. The ever so popular and not dodgy at all Jurie Roux remarked “Every now and then we will push the boundaries and we will try and help our partners in trying something fresh and new, but that’s our pride and heritage and I don’t see it changing soon.”
And yes Ireland play in green and if you look historically there is a constant changing of the rules around which team wears their home kit. Hey, here is a fancy idea, how about the home team, always wears the home kit. You are meant to pack down the psychological advantage of playing at home by wearing your green and gold. There is something extra unsettling about seeing the Springboks in a white kit at home. It doesn’t feel right. I know you are thinking that it doesn’t matter right now as the Springboks are about as intimidating as Garfield, but wearing white that intimidation level almost drops to Garfield after a full bowl of lasagna level.
Sure it may be a stupid, superficial argument, but it’s one that is important to me as a fan. I also want the Springboks to bring pride to the jersey, but to the Green and gold one not a white jersey made for profits rather than pride.
I realise that there are much bigger problems in South African Rugby than the colour of the kit, but lets be real, you were never gonna find that type of analysis here, you were here for something different and oops, there it is!