Book Review: South African Rugby Annual 2018

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:16
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It's the 47th Edition of the South African Rugby Annual and again quite the best of any country's rugby annual. 

It is simply excellent in content and presentation. There is a vast treasure of information presented in an eminently usable way.

In short it is a tribute to the editors - Duane Heath, the managing editor, and Eddie Grieb, the statistical editor.  It was Michelangelo who said: "Perfection consists in attention to trifles, but perfection is no trifle." There is great attention to a horde of trifles in this annual.

The cover is as usual a picture of the Player of the Year, and this year, unsurprisingly, it is Malcolm Marx with the ball in hand charging with a calm face at the opposition.

It is hard to imagine any fact that you need to know about to rugby in South Africa that you cannot find in the annual.

Apart of lists of top achievers and four pages of South Africans playing abroad, there are 38 pages of South Africans playing representative rugby in South Africa, from Abrahams, Yuseph William whose nickname is Boela, born in Port Elizabeth and schooled at Hentie Cilliers in Virginia to Zwarts, Rikus, Kimberley born and educated a lock of 1,96m and 114kg. And their playing careers are there as well. It is a treasure trove.

There are achievements of referees in 2017, a list of international matches played around the world, lost of more than 230 South Africans who have played for other countries, the list of Springboks since unity with details of their careers and then the list of 557 Springboks from 1891 to 1989. There are lists of those who played for other national bodies - the Coloured Rugby Board, the Bantu Rugby Board, the Federation, SARU and their derivatives. If you want to find the result of the Springbok Test on 11 January 1913 and their match against South Western France on 11 November 1968, it's there.

Currie Cup rugby has a big place. It includes the 2017 Currie Cup but also the names of all players who played in Currie Cup finals since 1939. There is a report on the Varsity Cup and, for non-university club sides, the Gold Cup. There is a review of each province's activities, the teams that went to Craven Week and how they did and ends with 26 pages of obituaries.

It is now available and well worth buying.

Title: South African Rugby Annual 2017
Editors: Duane Heath and Eddie Grieb
Published by the South African Rugby Union
576 pages 
Soft cover
Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white
ISBN 978-0-620-78461-0

Available at, and Recommended retail price is R205. Copies can also be ordered directly from publishers’ representatives Blue Weaver, at or (021) 701-4477.