Book Review; Rugby at Ellis Park
An excellent new rugby book, Rugby at Ellis Park, has just been published and already it's rare.
The publication of the book is an act of love and only 100 copies have been printed.
It is a beautiful book with splendid, colourful illustrations from Hymie Sibul's extensive collection. It is a companion copy to Rugby at Newlands which appeared in 2015.
The Tests told in detail are the 47, starting with the All Blacks in 1928 and ending with the Irish Test in 2016. But there is more. There is a bit about Johannesburg which is appropriate as the city and the rugby in the city have the same timeline.
There are also records of Tests played in and around Johannesburg - the three pre-Ellis Park Tests at the old Wanderers down at Johannesburg's main railway station, the present Wanderers when Ellis Park was being rebuilt and the three Tests played in Soweto.
That makes it a record 54 Tests in all, each with its own illustration but the 47 in greater detail.
Each match of the 47 is put in its context in Johannesburg at the time. Each has a match report and an after-match reflection, the names of the players and the referee, and match references.
Test number 26 is likely to attract lots of interest - the one in which South Africa beat New Zealand 15-12 to win the World Cup and set the nation dancing in the streets.
There are some wonderful quotations from great men who played at Ellis Park - Francois Pienaar, who also write an introduction, Gary Teichmann, Jean de Villiers, Richie McCaw, Mike Greenaway and JM Coetzee, the only South African with a Nobel Prize for Literature.
The book is largely from the research and effort of David McLennan, the owner of Select Books in Cape Town, who has a serious interest in rugby and its people, as is shown in the books he sells.
It is a special, cheerful book.
Title: Rugby at Ellis Park A History Told Through Test Matches 1928-2016
By David McLennan & Hymie Sibul with assistance from Chris Schoolman
Published by David McLennan
Illustrated with colour throughout
Available only at Select Books at R550