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World champions: the story of South African rugby

Authors J. Winch
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2022
OUTPUT TYPE: Monograph (Book)
Print HSRC Library: shelf number 9814216
handle 20.500.11910/22821
Rugby was established at the Cape in 1879 in support of a political desire to promote Englishness, but the Afrikaner developed a special affinity for the game and it became a significant part of his culture. It also spread rapidly amongst ethnically-mixed communities, the Muslim descendants of slaves, and a black middle-class emerging from mission stations. The Cape's rugby establishment enforced racial separation, some years before the government implemented a system of segregation. The story of South African rugby subsequently evolved through two pillars that controlled the game for the greater part of the twentieth century: the white SA Rugby Football Board and the non-racial SA Coloured Rugby Football Board, later known as SARU. Each chapter tells its own story, exploring key events and questioning entrenched narratives. Meticulous research has led to a fascinating window on society, examining the way one side of the racial divide enjoyed periods of success as unofficial world rugby champions, while the other struggled in the face of relentless challenges up to - and beyond - unity in 1992. This story could not have been written earlier. It needed the 2019 Rugby World Cup when Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored South Africa"s first-ever tries in a final; Duane Vermeulen was "man of the match", and Siya Kolisi held aloft the Webb Ellis Cup. This memorable success inspired a genuine appreciation of the skills that have always existed across the racial spectrum.