About the book:
‘Hearing the anthem when you’re standing there, in front of the world, your countrymen, all your friends and supporters, brings the emotion flooding in. You’re standing in a line alongside your fellow soldiers, and you know there is only a minute to go until the first whistle blows. And you have the opportunity to sing your country’s anthem. It’s even better when you are playing in South Africa, as South African fans always go crazy. You’re going up against the All Blacks, or whoever your opponents are, and there comes that moment, right there. It feels like your whole life has built up to this point – all that you have gone through as a rugby player, all the dreaming about this moment and this day, all the effort you have put in at training over a long period of time, is reaching culmination. All those highs and lows. All that sweat. All that pain. This is it. It was all building up to this.’ – A.J. VENTER
No rugby nation has more passionate supporters than South Africa. If, as a Springbok fan, you have always wondered what goes on behind the scenes of our national team, this book will provide the answers. Renowned rugby scribe Gavin Rich has interviewed a wide cross-section of Springboks from the post-isolation era and asked them a variety of questions, covering politics, issues relating to schools rugby, the exodus of players overseas, and the challenges that come with dealing with life after rugby.
In Our Blood Is Green, 35 Springbok rugby players talk about their careers: the controversies they were involved in, the highs and lows of being a Springbok, and how they made it to the top of their profession. They talk about what it was like to carry the hopes of a nation into battle, how they dealt with the officials and, yes, coaches who often didn’t know what they were doing. Is there still a divide between English- and Afrikaans-speaking players? Does the ‘quota’ system work? Most importantly, do we have a coaching problem in this country, or is our rugby system just fatally flawed? Is Bok rugby driven by playing for the jersey or nationalism, and what is it like to face the haka, or sing the national anthem, before a Test match? These questions and more are answered in Our Blood Is Green.
By allowing the players to tell their own stories in their own words, Rich offers readers insight into players’ personal experiences, as well as their thoughts on the game today and the way forward for the sport in this country. Our Blood Is Green is a compelling read for rugby fans of all ages.