South Africans must embrace the global impact made by the country’s best players in top leagues abroad and surrender the safety blanket of the underdogs tag, writes MARK KEOHANE.
Boosted by the excellent performances of South African locks Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman, Munster beat the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town on Saturday.
This came after former Vodacom Bulls scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl scored a try at Twickenham to help Saracens re-claim the English Premiership title against a Sale Sharks side featuring five South Africans in their matchday-23.
Writing in his column for TimesLive, Keohane hailed the success of South African players playing on the biggest of stages overseas.
“We are a strange bunch in South Africa. We always want to be the underdog and we love being written off, but ironically wherever our players go, they revel and thrive,” wrote Keohane. “Players, outside of the current national squad set-up, are taking that rev counter into the red. Players inside Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber’s national squad are as dominant.
“What is so seductive and damn remarkable about South Africa’s quartet in the URC, trio in the Champions Cup and duo in the Challenge Cup, is that they are exclusively South African teams.
“Apart from Leinster (Springbok lock Jason Jenkins pardoned), the best of Europe’s clubs are often a World XV/Barbarians XV selected from several countries.
“Buggers, be proud of the South African rugby presence and influence on the global stage.”
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