Letter: How reader Ngcebo Mbatsane fell in love with rugby

Here is our first letter to the editor as we continue to encourage our readers to send editor CRAIG LEWIS any rugby-related letters during this time of lockdown.

CALLING OUR READERS: Send your rugby letter to the editor

Firstly, I would like to thank SA Rugby mag for providing us with the platform as readers to be able to write letters on our rugby memories, the opportunity is highly appreciated and lastly, I also like to extend my greatest appreciation to you guys, the editors of SA Rugby mag for providing us with insightful rugby news daily. We appreciate all of you.

Now back to rugby, this is my rugby story: I first started watching the game of rugby in 2012 and it was a match between the Springboks and the Pumas. Although I didn’t know anything about rugby at the time, I felt in love with the sport from that day ever since, this was of course aided by the final score of 27 to 6 in favour of the Boks.

Prior to that moment, I had never seen a game of sport with that level of brutality and emotions, from the Argentinians’ emotions while singing their anthem to the Springboks’ physicality, it was just amazing. Just to cut a long story short, although I might not have been watching rugby for long compared to others, the memories I have created ever since I learned about the game are forever engraved in my heart.

I can truly say that I have watched the Springboks in three different eras since 2012, and all had their moments and the ones I cherished the most are highlighted below.

During the Heyneke Meyer era, I enjoyed the match at Ellis park in 2014 between the Boks and the All Blacks. How Pat Lambie was able to keep calm and convert that last-minute penalty from long range was a thing of beauty. Although there were not many moments to choose from during Allister Coetzee’s two-year stint in the job, that 2017 series win against Les Bleus is worth remembering.

I was particularly impressed with the performances of players such as Siya Kolisi and Jan Serfontein, a special mention also goes to that bulldozing try former Sharks prop Coenie Oosthuizen scored in that second match of the series. It would also be a crime against the greatest performances by an individual player if I omitted Malcom Marx performance in that one-point loss to the All Blacks in 2017. It was a performance built on hunger to honour the ‘ Green and Gold’.

While the were so many joyful memories to draw from during the Rassie Erasmus era, such as the appointment of Siya Kolisi as the first black Springbok captain and the 2018 victory against the All Blacks at the Cake Tin, that 2019 final performance from all the players, especially the scrum from the starting front row and the monstrous efforts of Duane ‘Thor’ Vermeulen was just amazing.

A lot has been said and written about rugby giving hope in South Africa and those outside our country might take this as some narrative and so on, but for me as I young black kid growing up in the township I can attest to the positive influence rugby has had in my life over the years , and now I can proudly say that I would rather watch a rugby game first before a soccer or cricket match.

I hope the Springboks continues to inspire the many young people out there with their performances on the field, and not forget that sometimes it’s not about the results but rather, we fans are always satisfied with the efforts they put on the field.

May the Bokke glory days continue, in Rassie Erasmus and coach Jacques Nienaber I trust.

Thank you

*If you’d like to join Ngcebo in sending us a rugby letter, we’d like to invite you to send any of your thoughts or memories in an email to editor Craig Lewis at this address: [email protected]

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