Nie-fiksie / Non-fiction: Sport & Ontspanning / Sport & Leisure
Nie-fiksie / Non-fiction - Sport & Ontspanning / Sport & Leisure
The early 1970s in South Africa were a time of economic boom, political repression, growing isolation and an unshakeable confi dence that the Springboks were the best rugby team in the world - until the infamous 1974 British Lions tour. It was a tour in which a group of talented and long-haired rugby players from the United Kingdom played, sang and drank their way across the country, beating the Springboks 3-0 in the four Tests, with the last one a dubious draw. Until then the Lions hadn't beaten South Africa at home in 78 years.
South African rugby was in a backward, introspective phase. So uncertain were the Bok selectors of who their best side was that they pulled 33-year-old Hannes Marais out of retirement to lead the team, and they chose 38 players for the four Tests. In contrast, the Lions under captain Willie John McBride and coach Syd Millar had prepared as never before and played inspired rugby.
The tour sent shockwaves through white South Africa, while it was celebrated by black and coloured people across the country, with thousands lining the streets and waiting at airports for a glimpse of the visitors. This was, after all, a series never captured on local television (which arrived in 1976); in a way it was the last pre-television tour, a golden age of amateurism, pranks and setting hotel rooms alight - as the Lions did after winning the series in PE.