Published 5 September 2019
The leaping Springbok on the green jersey of South Africa is one of the most iconic emblems in world rugby. At the same time, no symbol in world sport has ever done so much to divide – and then unite – a nation.
Respected by opponents and supported passionately by South Africans, the Springboks have been a powerhouse rugby nation for over a century, yet the emblem that now sits alongside the Protea on the chests of the players was once a symbol of violent oppression in apartheid South Africa, the epitome of the white man’s dominance over people of colour in the Republic.
Told in the words of Springboks past and present, My Blood is Green explores what it means to play for South Africa – from schoolboy dreams to the sacrifices required to make it to the very top – as well as the myriad difficulties the players have faced over the years, from the horrors of apartheid through to the emerging rainbow nation in the 1990s and the multi-cultural team of today.
It is a fascinating, powerful and poignant read that explores the unity of a brotherhood that fights to transcend race, culture and class while simultaneously striving to become the best team on the planet.
My Blood is Green examines what it truly means to be a Springbok and it is told the only way it can be – by the players themselves.
Gavin Rich is a senior sportswriter for Supersport and the author of The Springbok Coaches and Mitch: The Real Story with John Mitchell. He lives in South Africa.