The green and gold jersey which the Springboks don has evolved significantly over the years. Nevertheless, despite drastic changes to the rugby landscape, it has retained its core elements. Here, we look back on five classic Springbok jerseys from the recent and distant past.
Current Springboks shirt sponsor ASICS delivered a stylish, but effective jersey for the recent World Cup in Japan. After over 10 samples with 30 fabrics, the rigorous lab-testing process produced a shirt with a modern look and feel, as well as technical advancements to give the Springboks a competitive edge.
A light, thin fabric was complemented by a grip print to aid the process of ball-catching and carrying. ASICS used 3D measurements to enable special fitting for the players.
The goal was to create a jersey which would help rather than hinder the Boks on their quest to become “unstoppable”. One could say that the end justifies the means, and Rassie Erasmus’ men looked increasingly comfortable as the tournament progressed, ultimately beating England 32-12 in the final.
Before 2019, the Boks had already once beaten England in a Rugby World Cup final. Although Jake White’s team had to grind out a 15-6 win in a gritty, tryless match, they did so wearing one of the most stylish Springbok jerseys ever.
A key feature of this jersey was grips on the chest to help players hold onto the ball while running. In a sense, Canterbury laid some foundations for ASICS to build on when they took over as sponsors.
The 2007 Springbok jersey was rugged, but appealing. It was the ideal clothing item to represent a team containing powerhouses such as Os du Randt and CJ van der Linde, as well as flair players including Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez.
During trying times, it is sometimes helpful to go back to one’s roots. The Springboks rediscovered their Midas Touch in the first year of the Jake White era, playing some vintage rugby while wearing a classic kit.
After the tight-fitting Nike jersey for the 2003 World Cup, Canterbury delivered a more traditional jersey with a classic gold collar.
The Springboks had struggled to find their best form during the early years of the new millenium. After losing their first two games of the 2004 Tri Nations, doubters may have feared the worst, but South Africa rolled back the years to win the tournament.
Their form on the field delivered the same imperious message that their jersey did: the Springboks were back at the top and there to stay.
It may not have been the greatest of years in terms of results for the Springboks, but the kit the Springboks wore at the 2003 World Cup set the tone for many to follow.
Moving away from the traditional collared rugby jersey, Nike released a more modern tight-fitting round neck shirt. Although they initially went back to an old school kit after 2003, the Boks ultimately returned to a jersey with elements of the ‘03 model.
South Africa finished second in Pool C of the World Cup ahead of Samoa, Georgia and Uruguay, but behind eventual champions England. Rudolf Straeuli’s side lost 29-9 to New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
The 1995 home jersey donned by the first South African team to participate in and win the Rugby World Cup will forever be etched in Springbok history.
South Africa’s democracy was only a year old and some viewed the Springbok emblem as a reminder of the country’s divisive past. The heroics of the class of ‘95 went some way towards reforming that image.
Nelson Mandela, donning the vintage green and gold jersey, handed captain Francois Pienaar the Webb Ellis Cup following the Boks’ heroic 15-12 win over New Zealand in the final at Ellis Park. Many highs and lows followed, but from that day forward, the new era of the Springboks was well and truly underway.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect that of the SA Rugby Shop or SA Rugby themselves.