Beer, braai and biltong are almost synonymous with the Boks. And on Sunday, many in Mzansi will unite in green and gold while enjoying these, all made possible by farmers, to get behind their beloved national rugby team.
People across the country will watch in anticipation as South Africa meet Japan at 12:15 in the Tokyo Stadium in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup. The host nation has warmed hearts all over the world with its exciting play. Japan’s new rugby heroes even include the likes of Pretoria-born Lappies Labuschagné, who has also captained his adopted country.
But there is no doubt that the team of Siya Kolisi, captain of the Springboks, will look to end the fairy tale of the Brave Blossoms. Former Springbok prop Ollie le Roux, who farms outside Bloemfontein with cattle, sheep, chickens and blueberries, says his heart beats about 150 to 160 beats per minute every time South Africa runs onto the field.
He believes there is something special about the current Boks. “You can see the guys have a lot of pride, play for each other and that makes me proud as well,” he says. Le Roux represented the Boks in 54 test matches and also played at the 1999 World Cup.
Will South Africa beat Japan? “Yes, Rassie (Erasmus, the Bok coach) is a very clever coach,” he says. “It is quite simple if you think about the game. Their pack of forwards weighs about 860 kg and we weigh about 960 kg.” He says the Boks will scrum and maul Japan until the home side cannot keep up anymore.
Fynbos queen Jacky Goliath, the CEO of De Fynne Nursery outside Paarl in the Western Cape, says her blood is green. Best of all, Mzansi’s farmers proudly produce the food and drinks that makes a Bok celebration special. Goliath says, “When celebrating you have something to eat and drink. Let’s celebrate and support our Bok boys with the food and drinks so proudly produced by our local farmers and agripreneurs.”
Ettiene van Wyk, a sheep farmer from Marydale in the Northern Cape, has been backing the Boks since he was a boy growing up on a farm. “The Springbok team at the moment are quite hot. From Herschel Jantjies on number nine, Cheslin Kolbe as wing, Handré Pollard on number ten and Lood de Jager as lock. Wow, I have no doubt that they’ll bring the cup home. Despite all the ups and downs, I’ve always been a Bok.”
Mosele Lepheane, the CEO of Mos M Farm, a Free State piggery, believes that rugby is truly the one sport that can unite South Africans. “It embodies the passion we have and displays the possibilities of our beautiful and peaceful country. It knows no colour. As farmers, we fully stand behind the Boks. Anyone who knows us will know that we come with biltong… So, also take the Rugby World Cup as a moment to just appreciate the farmers bringing you the best meat at the shisanyama as we celebrate our team.”
Wilhelm Steenkamp, a sheep farmer near Williston in the Northern Cape, says he will support the Boks while lighting a fire and watching the test with his family and father. “I have been behind the Boks from the start and think we can go all the way.”
According to Steenkamp, who played for teams like the Cheetahs, Bulls and Western Force, the positive brand of rugby South Africa is playing also helped to get people behind them.
He was a teammate of Labuschagné’s when both still played for the Cheetahs. “Japan has been the surprise package. In a way it is sad that we have to play them now,” says Steenkamp.
Boet Wilken, a sheep and lucerne farmer near Van Stadensrus in the Free State, says even his kids will have their Bok jerseys on. “I think the Springboks will beat Japan. South Africa just shouldn’t be too comfortable. We must stick to the basics.”
He believes his country will take confidence from its previous match against Japan, when the Springboks beat them by 41-7 in a World Cup warm-up match. Wilken says, “We should just play our own game and not their game.”
The current Bok team and coaching staff are the epitome of the ideals that Madiba envisioned, believes agripreneur Yongama Skweyiya, the co-founder of Pimville Gin. “Their journey and hopeful victory is shared by our young nation, trying to solve its own internal problems. The Springboks continue to remind each and every South African of our ability to greatness – if we hold hands and work together. Viva, Bokke! We are proud of you and support you all the way.”
- In the spirit of the Rugby World Cup, Food For Mzansi has developed a range of #LoveYourFarmer bumper stickers to support the Springboks. The sticker range can be downloaded free from the website or ordered as vehicle bumper stickers. Click here to view all 32 #LoveYourFarmer sticker options that are currently on sale for as little as R100.