Book Review: SA Rugby Annual 2017
The South African Rugby Annual is the best of any country's rugby annual in the world - by far. And the latest is even better. Paul Dobson reviews.
The 2017 annual - which covers rugby in South Africa in 2016 - is as fascinating as ever. It is a book I have next to me all day and dip into every day.
It starts off with a list of awards and then profiles of the Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit who is on the cover with smiling Eben Etzebeth to help him, and the Young Player of the Year, Malcolm Marx. Later there is also a list of refereeing achievers for 2016.
If you want to get information, this annual has it abundantly. If the Sharks get a new flyhalf, you can read about Bernhard Janse van Rensburg - his full names (Barend Johannes), his date and place of birth, his school, his height and weight and his first class rugby career. Naturally, Bryan Gary Habana's is fuller and includes his records.
Records - there is an astonishing, unique inclusion this year - 29 pages of world records for Tier One countries. It is the work of meticulous researcher Kobus Smit. It is clearly, succinctly laid out in a way that makes it clear and easy to read.
An example is most tries - overall, by country, individual, position and even substitutes. There is even a record of most matches before scoring a try!
It a simply wonderful, fascinating innovation.
There are coverages of 2016 in South Africa and globally, a complete list of Springboks and a review of the performances of all national teams - Springboks, South Africa A, the Under-20s, the schools and the Blitsbokke.
There are the details of Super Rugby and domestic competitions - the Currie Cup, the Under-21 and Under-19 Interprovincial championships, the youth weeks, the Gold Cup the Varsity Cup and Shield, women's rugby and the amateur championships.
It ends, appropriately, with obituaries, 60 of them.
There is also a list of over 300 South African players who are playing abroad and there is a list of over 200 South African players who have played for other countries,
It is a book not only to fascinate but also to answer questions and settle arguments.
It is a lively book, in its text and in its illustrations. It is a book produced by people who really care.
Duane Heath, Eddie Grieb, Ryan Manning and all others who worked to produce this remarkable book deserve our thanks and praise. It is a book to make South African rugby proud.
Title: SA Rugby Annual 2017
Edited by Duane Heath & Eddie Grieb
Published by the South African Rugby Union
Designer: Ryan Manning
Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white
The annual is on sale at all leading retailers as well as online at www.exclusivebooks.co.za, www.takealot.com and www.loot.co.za. Recommended retail price is R205.