Johannesburg - Siya Kolisi’s elevation to the Springboks’ first black African captain has been a game changer that has spilled over into other areas of rugby.
SA Rugby announced the commencement of an encyclopaedia of black rugby this week and even crusty old columnists like this one have been swept away by the giddiness of the occasion.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of a few changes to the Bok setup that are close to most black rugby fans’ hearts. I’m reliably told this missive will find its way all the way to the new Bok captain’s in-tray.
- As a mark of respect, all players with 50 or more caps in the team should have the prefix “Bra” when they are being addressed. For example, Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn will now be known as Bra Beast, Bra Bissy and Bra Frans because, in our culture, we can’t be on a first-name basis with a whole elder.
- The lineout calls from here on in will be done in isiXhosa, a bit like they’ve always been done in Afrikaans. The blinding logic for this call is that, while England may have the odd ex-Saffer who could decode Afrikaans calls in their ranks, we all know that most of the white people who left this country were apprehensive at the thought of having to learn the other 10 official languages.
- Olé, Olé, Olé - the 1995 Rugby World Cup victory song for the Boks - will formally be retired, along with its fellow charlatan South African stadium hits Shosholoza and Nkalakatha, in favour of igwijo. Most of you wonder what on earth that is. Well, it’s basically those songs a handful of black fans have been singing at stadiums all along. Don’t worry, they’ve been working on this playlist since apartheid days, so the lyrics will be readily available.
And oh, by the way, the stadium DJ will be expected to be fluent in Black Coffee and gangster rap - a little less Ryperd, Loslappie and Kaptein, please.
- What with the topic having been a controversial one in the past, I have thought long and hard about what should constitute the new form of initiation for new caps. But given the Xhosa way of initiating young men, maybe we should Green Paper the idea for now...
- Because as black people we’re incapable of letting a perfectly good try go uncelebrated, I propose that Trevor Nyakane be the head of choreography for whatever dance moves will mark the scoring of a try.
Those manly handshakes, badge thumps, man hugs, high-fives and the ruffling of hair are so 1990s.
- The pre-game prayer, as introduced by Bakkies “Dankie Hemelse Vader” Botha all those years ago, will now be made to the ancestors. Some of the Afrikaans and English boys in the team might be a bit mystified by that one, but black people consider Jan van Riebeeck, Cecil John Rhodes and Hendrik Verwoerd to have had just about enough notoriety to earn ancestor status.
- On the field, all players will be expected to execute a goose step, which will be closely followed by a split step - Aphiwe Dyantyi style - the moment they come into possession of the ball.
The old spiral way of passing the ball will be erased from the coaching manual in favour of a host of Sonny Bill Williams offloads and no-look reverse passes.
And players are no longer allowed to scream “Inside!” or “Outside!” when they want to alert the man in possession to pass to them. The new call will be “Thuma mina!”
- Finally, as a nod to black guys the country over, liver, trotters, a sheep’s head and tongue will replace chicken pasta, broccoli and such other fancy “slow-release” carbs cluttering the Boks’ pre-match meal.
Not only have we seen Jesse Kriel load up on our suggested fare on Siya Kolisi’s Instagram account, we’ve also been reliably told that the Afrikaans fellas love their meat.
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