I must confess that I know very little about rugby. I was once asked to sit next to the minister of sport during a meet-and-greet at the company I worked for, and was mortified, because I didn’t even know who the rugby captain was at the time.
Not knowing or understanding one of our biggest sport spectacles as South Africans can almost be classified as criminal, given the passion that borders on fanaticism that surrounds the game of rugby.
I grew up in a small town where our team, Blue Birds, played their hearts out against teams from neighbouring towns.
It happened on the rugby field next to the graveyard in the old “coloured” area on cold and rainy Saturday afternoons to the delight of all the fanatical fans.
The field wasn’t level and there was no grass. I can still hear the thudding of the boots as they ran across the field to either be tackled or score a try.
Well, nowadays I’m confused that a try counts for five points because when the Blue Birds played, it used to be three.
I also remember the passion and national pride that grabbed the country in 1995, when the Springboks beat the All Blacks on Ellis Park to win the, and the score was 15-12.
I was glued to my television screen, watching the most exciting game ever, and when Joel Stransky dropkicked that ball in the last couple of minutes of extra time, the whole South Africa exploded.
When President Nelson Mandela walked onto the field in that number-6 green-and-gold jersey and congratulated captain Francois Pienaar, I too, like most of my countrymen, cried with joy!
Support The Bokke
This year, theis taking place in Japan, and all South Africans would love for our national team to bring home that much-coveted trophy.
This time around, I know that the Springbok captain is Siya Kolisi, and that the game will be played in Yokohama.
If you are travelling to Japan on board one of our SAA flights to support the Bokke, wear our national colours with pride, take our indomitable spirit with you, and travel safely.