Friday, October 07, 2011

Rugby emblem from South Africa

The 2011 Rugby World Cup goes one, next weekend France will play against England for the quarter final. I’m a bit disappointed by the performance of the French team so far but I’m anyway happy they could qualify for the quarter final.


As a spin off the Rugby World Cup, the South African postal administration has issued on the 19th of August 2011 an interesting souvenir sheet picturing the evolution of the emblem of the national rugby team through history.


The South African Rugby Union team is called “the springboks”. This name dates back from 1906 when Paul Roos, one of the first captains of the South African team used this nickname for the first time during a press conference in the first international tour of the team. The springbok is a type of antelope which was widely used at this time as a national symbol but mainly among the white community. This is the reason why the emblem has evolved over the years.

At the end of apartheid the usage of the springbok as a national symbol was highly questioned. Several sport teams decided to rename themselves into “the proteas” which is the national flower of South Africa. The rugby team kept the name “springboks” but they added protea flowers to their emblem as shown on the stamp picturing the emblem of the 1992-1995 and 1996-2003 period.

If you look at the two last stamps, on the right and bottom corner you see that the protea has disappeared from the emblem. Well this is not exactly true. If you look at the jersey used by the rugby team these days, they have the springbok on one side of the chest, and a badge with the protea on the other side. There is a funny anecdote linked to that. For the 2011 Rugby World Cup there as an issue because the jersey must also include the logo of the competition and it was too much logos on the front side of the jersey. The solution has been to move the springbok from the chest to the sleeves (keeping the protea on the chest). This has obvisouly triggered some debate…

It shows how important are all these symbols used in sport…

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