Red jersey won't 'weaken' the Boks
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Three years ago the South African Rugby Union played an April fools joke. It caused a massive public outcry, until they realised it was not true.
However, on Saturday that 'joke' will become a reality - when the Springboks play in a red jersey against Los Pumas in a Rugby Championship match in Salta.
Some cynics may suggest the 'joke' was three years in the making.
It had a similar strong reaction since SARU revealed earlier this month that the Boks will play in a red jersey in their away match against Argentina.
The limited-edition alternate jersey - in the red of the South African flag - was commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of rugby unity in South Africa.
Despite the public outcry, the players insist it is not the colour of the jersey, but the Springbok brand that drives them.
"I haven't seen the jersey yet, other than on social media," Bok flank Jaco Kriel said.
"However, you still represent your country and we will still be proud to put on that jersey.
"There are so many kids dreaming of putting on the jersey.
"No matter what colour it is, we will still be proud.
"We are still representing the country and we will still be proud of the jersey."
The red jersey completes a 'jigsaw puzzle' of playing and training apparel that was prepared for use in 2017.
The colours of the flag – green, yellow, blue and red, as well as black and white – have all featured in training or playing apparel this year.
"We wanted to mark the 25th anniversary of rugby unity in South Africa in a striking and memorable way," SARU CEO Jurie Roux said.
“We chose the colours of the flag as a uniting symbol and believed that red made the boldest statement as a tribute to the achievement of rugby unity, which was completed before democracy arrived in South Africa."