Yay, Yay it’s #BokFriday…and why that Springbok Emblem is not in Front

It’s official! Fridays in South Africa are now green and gold. Yesterday Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalulato, called on Corporate South Africa to support their workforce in wearing Springbok jerseys on the 11 Fridays until the big World Cup kickoff. Starting today. BUT not all South African fans are happy to comply…

Springbok Launch 2015
Photos: Angela Gorman

“It’s that time of year again where we have to wear our green and gold to support our national pride; the Springboks,” the Minister announced yesterday. The South African Rugby Union (SARU) urged supporters to stick to official licensed merchandise and not fall for “shoddy, counterfeit goods”.

However many sports fans are saying they while they are happy to wear green and stand behind their team, they will only wear an “older jersey where the Bok is on the front”.

The new jersey weighs only 180g and includes special features like grip points on the front…but no Bok on that front.


Springbok Launch 2015
At the launch last month. Photo: Angela Gorman

The Springboks’ facebook page has been inundated with unhappy, passionate fans accusing the sports body of “meddling”, with the outrage over the removal of the Springbok emblem from the front of the shirt as heated and passionate today as it was a month ago when the new gear was launched.

Here Simon Borchardt, editor of SA Rugby Magazine, argues why SARU is not to blame for the Springbok emblem’s absence from the front of the new World Cup jersey…

SARU did not boot Springbok emblem

By Simon Borchardt

Judging by the comments on SA Rugby magazine’s Facebook page, there are thousands of furious Bok fans who won’t be buying the jersey that was launched in Cape Town last month This is because the Bok emblem has once again been shifted to the left sleeve, with the Protea emblem over the heart, the Asics logo in the middle and the 2015 World Cup logo on the other side.

Springbok Launch 2015
At the launch last month. Photo: Angela Gorman

Those fans have a right to be upset – they are passionate about the Bok emblem and believe it should be prominently displayed – but they are wrong to be slamming Saru.

Saru knows the commercial value of the Bok emblem but has no choice but to move it to the left sleeve of the World Cup jersey, as World Rugby insists that there can only be three logos on the front of the jersey: the World Cup logo, the apparel sponsor’s logo and the team logo (the Boks also have the Webb Ellis Cup on their right sleeve with the dates of their World Cup wins – 1995 and 2007 – underneath).

Like it or not, the Protea emblem is the official emblem of all South African sports teams, according to the government’s National Colours Act, and therefore takes precedence over the Springbok.

In 2010, when the Boks’ 2011 World Cup jersey was launched, Dr Jan Marais, chairman of the Saru executive council, explained the decision to move the Bok to the left sleeve.

‘It was very straightforward in the end as our attempts to find a place for the Springbok on the front of the jersey failed to find favour,’ he said. ‘We were left with no choice and the important point to note is that this application will only be for World Cup events.’

Saru explored the possibility of applying a fourth mark – the Springbok emblem – either in conjunction with the Protea emblem or with the apparel sponsor logo but both ideas were rejected.

Since then, the Springboks, Junior Springboks and Springbok Women’s side have all played with the Bok emblem on the left sleeve during World Rugby tournaments. So there shouldn’t have been any surprise when the 2015 World Cup jersey was revealed and the Bok was not on the front of it.

Springbok Launch 2015
Last month’s launch. Photo: Angela Gorman

There were also complaints about the size of the Bok emblem on the sleeve (it is very small compared to the Protea), but that, too, is determined by World Rugby’s jersey regulations. Don’t blame Saru.

And it’s not just the Boks who are affected. The Wallabies also have two logos – the Australian coat of arms and the Wallaby emblem – which means the Wallaby has to move to the left sleeve during the World Cup to accommodate the World Cup logo.

South African rugby fans can take some consolation from the fact that while the Bok emblem is not on the front of the World Cup jersey, it does at least appear somewhere on the jersey and the team continues to be called the Springboks.

This article originally appeared on RugbyWorldCup2015 and is republished here with kind permission of Simon Borchardt.

All photos copyright Angela Gorman: www.agormanphotography.com

Watch Video: Green and Gold – 2015 Launch of #BokFriday #HomeGroundAdvantage

#GreenandGold goes with every pair of jeans, with every pair of shorts, with every scarf, with every skirt…It’s how we fuel our #HomeGroundAdvantage

The Minister of Sports’ #BokFriday appeal yesterday comes on the eve of the Springbok’s first match of the season (with Jean de Villiers set to make his rugby comeback) – against a World XV (led by former Bok Bakkies Botha) at Newlands in Cape Town tomorrow, Saturday 11 July 2015.