The decision to move the Springbok logo to the sleeve for this year’s Rugby World Cup may have been taken five years ago, but this week’s launch of the new jersey has drawn strong criticism from fans and mixed reactions from former players.
The jersey for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which starts in England in 104 days, will be the lightest ever worn by South Africa, at 70 grams lighter than any previous jersey. But it is the logo that has got people talking.
“It is definitely a drastic and significant change to the jersey,” said former Springbok flyhalf Braam van Straten, who played 21 Tests between 1999 and 2001.
“I don’t get the same (warm) feeling from the Bok jersey compared to the one that I grew up with. I don’t know if the Protea or the World Cup emblem will have the same effect, it doesn’t work for me.
“I don’t know if it will carry the same value, I have my doubts. It just doesn’t carry the same weight,” he added.
Former Springbok hooker Naka Drotske, who represented his country in 26 Tests between 1993 and 1999, said it was a short-term decision.
“I think it’s a beautiful jersey, but I must admit I only had a quick glance,” he said yesterday.
“The emblem was no doubt moved because of World Cup interests. Obviously it would have looked even nicer on the chest where it’s always been, but the emblem shouldn’t distract from what it really stands for.”
The South African Rugby Union (Saru) stressed that the repositioning of the Springbok logo to the sleeve only applies to World Rugby events and was first communicated by them in October 2010. The Springbok logo has been placed on the left sleeve of the playing jersey at all subsequent Rugby World Cup for men, women, Sevens and Under-20 tournaments.
Other nations – such as Australia – also relocate their team emblem to the jersey sleeve for World Cup events.
Former Test cricketer Alviro Petersen said: ” I cant imagine the #Springbokjersey without the Springbok on it…” on Twitter yesterday.
Fan Barry Barlow (@nerdbarry07) tweeted: “#Springbokjersey Oh my word! Its a Disgrace! Where is the Springbok emblem? On the sleeve!Politics Again #Springboks. #SpringbokJersey Might as well be called the #Proteas, another hopeless performance at a WC, Why?? Cos of Politics.”
Another fan Jason Pietersen (?@jjpietersen) also didn’t like the change.
“@bokrugby I won’t be buying the new jersey for sure ! #Springbokjersey”