Rugby Championship

Wear green and gold - Fikile

2015-07-16 22:26
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - South Africans are being urged to ditch formal dress each Friday ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and wear the green and gold of the Springboks instead.

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula is leading a campaign to express support for one of the nations favoured to win the September 18-October 31 tournament in England.

"We have to wear our green and gold to support our national pride, the Springboks," said the minister.

Male and female supporters have been asked to leave shirts, ties, skirts and heels at home and don Springbok jerseys.

Once viewed by the black majority of South Africans as a pillar of apartheid, the Springboks now enjoy wide, multiracial backing.

Then President Nelson Mandela played a huge role in the u-turn by black South Africans as he backed the Springboks when they hosted and won the World Cup at the first attempt in 1995.

At the recent 20th anniversary of that triumph, skipper Francois Pienaar and other survivors hailed the role played by Mandela, who died in 2013 aged 95.

Pienaar recalled the famous post-final exchange between him and the first democratically elected leader of the republic.

"Thank you, Francois, for what you have done," Mandela told the loose forward as he handed him the most prized rugby trophy.

"No, Mr Mandela, thank you for what you have done," replied Pienaar.

The Springboks are consistently the most successful national team among the three dominant South African sports -- cricket, football and rugby.

South Africa have lifted the Rugby World Cup twice, but the cricketers have never won a major event, and the lone football success was winning the Africa Cup of Nations 19 years ago.

The Springboks are in Pool B at the World Cup with Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the United States.

Read more on:    springboks  |  rwc 2015  |  fikile mbalula  |  rugby
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