Rassie dismisses frock froth as Boks line up all-white jersey for Ireland

19 September 2023 - 12:00 By Liam Del Carme in Paris
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Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Image: David Rogers/Getty Images

In the capital of haute fashion and sartorial elegance, it is a plain white Springbok jersey that is commanding some of the rugby world's attention.

At the very least large swathes of Springbok fandom, who got their knickers in a knot that they don't get to watch their team in their more traditional strip as often as they might wish. The Boks, for their august, and long-anticipated clash at the Stade de France against Ireland on Saturday, will run out as if they are attending PT class. 

That the Boks have had to yield to Ireland in who gets to wear their traditional strip has left them green with envy.

SA Rugby on Monday released a statement, mostly in bullet point, to perhaps drive home the point they are trying to make, and one got the distinct impression their director of rugby Rassie Erasmus doesn't share the whole froth over a frock hysteria.

“That question gets asked every week and the answer will never change. The decision has been made. We all know about the colour-blindness initiative where World Rugby is trying to make it possible for more people to watch the game. We fully understand that,” Erasmus said.

“We as the Springbok team know we are representing our country. We have the Springbok on our badge. We understand some people like it and some don't.

“If you ask the younger generation they love it, if you ask the older generation they say a lot of tradition goes out the window. We are just getting on with the job. We are playing in the white one this week. We are playing for South Africa and that is the most important thing.”

SA Rugby said in their statement on those occasions where a jersey clash must be avoided, the Springboks may be required to wear an alternate jersey. They reminded fans about the new colour-blindness guidelines in operation at the Rugby World Cup, which have increased the number of occasions one of the competing teams is required to wear an alternative jersey.

The regulations stipulate no two teams can wear dark jerseys in a match.

The Springboks were also forced into a jersey change for their clash against Scotland, though that hyper-jade variant got supporters spilling their Lagerfeld, while others Chanel-ed their energy on social media in the hope the jersey would be shown the Dior.

SA Rugby's statement was to the point:

“South Africa’s first alternate is hyper-jade and white; the second alternate is white with a hyper-jade collar. Replicas of the primary (green) and alternate (hyper-jade) have been produced for sale.

“The second alternate (all white) will be worn against Ireland as the hyper-jade is too like Ireland’s green jersey. Should the Springboks progress to the knockout stages of the competition, and if they are drawn as Team B against a team with a clashing colour the team will wear the hyper-jade alternate as the first option.

“Jerseys are designed by sports team apparel manufacturers and ultimately approved by the relevant federation.”

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