The Springbok Opus, a book weighing 36kg, will be showcased at a number of venues across the country.
The Opus was produced over 48 months as unseen images, never-before-told stories and special photography was commissioned to create the ultimate story of South African rugby.
The nationwide tour started at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town and will make its first stop at the V&A Waterfront in the city before embarking on a national tour to take in publicly accessible events such as exhibitions and shopping centres as well as rugby occasions such as the U18 Craven Week.
The Springbok Opus tells the full and diverse story of rugby from its first arrival in South Africa in the 1860s, its popularisation among all communities and the development of separate national federations to rugby unity in 1992 and to the professional era.
But the Springbok Opus captures that history in a unique and astonishing manner. The 50cm x 50cm epic tome is filled with more than 150,000 words and hundreds of images to produce the definitive book on the history of rugby in South Africa. The Opus is hand-bound in leather and is presented in a silk-covered special collector’s clam shell case.
'The Springbok Opus can hardly be described as a book,' said marketing and sales director Craig Mark. 'These works document and celebrate our rugby story and are to be enjoyed and handed down to generations as valuable family heirlooms to treasure that history.
'We have lined up a number of appearances for the Springbok Opus but we are also inviting rugby schools, clubs, stadiums, sponsors, shopping centres and other interested parties to express their interest in hosting the Springbok Opus.'
As part of the tour, a copy of the limited Captains’ Edition – signed by 40 South African national captains and worth R150,000 – will be offered in a tour competition as one of a number of promotions.
The Classic Edition Springbok Opus costs R30,000 with a smaller format (38cm x 38cm) ‘Midi’ edition costing R3,500.
'This is the only Opus to be produced on a rugby team,' said Mark. 'It will only ever have one edition, it really is a once-in-a-lifetime publication.'