Red jersey is a sellout – Jake

Jake White

The Springboks are going to play a Test in a red jersey. Doc Craven must be turning in his grave. Everything he warned about money changing rugby if it went professional is coming true.

I read in the paper that the red jersey is to celebrate 25 years of rugby unity. That’s rubbish, it’s a marketing tool to sell more jerseys.

If we can’t sell the green and gold jersey, and we need to turn it red to sell it, then we’ve got a serious problem.

A decade after being number one in the world, we’re changing the colour of our jersey. The question is why? And who is responsible for that slide?

Coaches get hired and fired, and scrutinised and measured according to stats and results, but where is the analysis on the administrators’ performance?

I’ve always said administrators need to run the game the way they see fit and then be judged on whether there are bums on seats and whether there are sponsors.

I see that a few Australian rugby administrators have resigned this week after the Force debacle. Bill Pulver is falling on his sword and I respect that.

He thought more Super Rugby teams and more money was better for the competition and, two years later, it isn’t. But I respect that he was brave enough to try and he’s now accountable for those decisions.

If the Springboks can’t sell a green and gold jersey, then maybe we need to look at the rugby results we’re selling and not the colour of the jersey. The way to sell more jerseys is by getting the rugby right.

The All Blacks haven’t changed the colour of their jersey, and neither have FC Barcelona. Imagine if Manchester United decided to make their home jersey green?

When you’re a coach at the coalface of professional rugby, you’re selling the dream of playing in a jersey to players. To an administrator, changing the colour doesn’t seem like a big thing, but to a coach it’s a huge thing because you’re changing that dream.

It’s like a boy finally making the SACS first XV and then the jersey is yellow – it’s not the same as the jersey his dad played in.

People will say “it’s only for one game”, but it isn’t. Where does it stop? Next we’ll be making exceptions so a guy can play for South Africa with a ponytail.

It’s never “just one time”, it’s the start of a slippery slope.

It amazes me that people don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying the change is to sell more jerseys. That’s an admission that we need to change the jersey colour because we need to raise money.

Isn’t that the same as when the media says a coach has lost the change room? How come an administrator never loses the support of the public?

Are South African rugby supporters happy that we’ve got two teams leaving Super Rugby to go to Europe? Are they happy the Boks will be playing in red jerseys? Surely those are the measurables for an administrator?

Everyone in world rugby understands what you mean when you talk about playing for the Green and Gold. It’s in the Springbok code of conduct to wear the Green and Gold with pride and conduct yourself accordingly so, theoretically, we have to change that code to include the red, black, yellow and blue?

Kitch Christie is one of the greatest coaches in Springbok history. He played Mark Andrews at No 8 in the 1995 World Cup final, and if they’d lost, he would never have been remembered as one of the greats, because coaches are measured on results.

Shouldn’t it be the same for rugby’s administrators?

- Jake White

Let's chat

  • Gaz

    Exactly what I said from the beginning. A money making scheme and a DISGUSTING disrespect for the jersey. Imagine if there are any debutants, what a slap in the face. I’d to see the players start growing some balls and refusing to wear it It. Guaranteed someone like Os du Rant would have refused to wear something like that. Rightly so.

    • Ingo

      I agree totally! Horrifying.

  • dbaggins

    Very valid points Jake.
    The crux of the problem is that the sport is not run by people who are real rugby people. They do not understand what heritages and nuances are sacred and what not. At the point where their definition of success is solely based on fleeting success. i.e a singular marketing drive with red jersey. This leaves the sport in a constant limbo. Where the administrators and decision makers see a non linear approach of jumping from fad to fad as a viable option for success.
    The biggest problem is that nothing is sacred in this approach and that the only remedies available are quick fixes with no long term solutions or visions taken into consideration.

    • biltong&potroast

      Well said!

      and Jake, I’d like to see more people with your #oldschoolrugbyvalues in SA rugby administration.

  • skalabrak

    No wonder they sold the sponsorship to MTN and FNB at knockdown prices – nobody can get serious about a red Springbok team – joke de luxe!

  • Pietie

    ag Jake, dis n away jersey. Dit lyk cool. Net omdat jy nou dik swart raam brille dra maak dit jou nie n fashion expert nie. Kan almal net vokkin relax.

    • Blackie

      Pietie jy het geen trots nie, seker ook nooit aan enige sport deel geneem nie, waar is jou skaamte? Mens dra n groen Bok trui met trots!!!!

    • Delon

      Piet als begin by 1. Hkm gaan manne soos Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu en Conrad Smith eers aan die einde van hul loopbaan oorsee en nie terwyl hulle vir die All Blacks speel nie? Daar is ongelooflik baie trots in die swart trui in NZ. Dis waarvoor meeste seuns speel en dis hkm dit n eer is om die trui aan te trek. In ons land word dit goedkoop weggegee of uitgedeel aan spelers wat nie regtig die trui verdien nie. Dis net een game jy is reg maar kom ons kyk waar eindig dit en dan se jy my of jy trots sal wees as jou seun eendag n rooi of swart of selfs blou trui aantrek en SA verteenwoordig…

    • BB

      hahahahahahahahaha lmga!

    • Willem

      Ek stem baie saam met Jake. Dit lyk horribaal swak. Ek kan regtig nie dink dat enige oud Springbok homself in so sirkus uitrusting sou begeef. Dit is net soos SA rugby afgelope tyd is 1 groot sirkus die narre word net meer. Pietie dit het niks met fashion te doen dit gaan oor Die GROEN EN GOUD elke jong aspiramt rugby speler manlik of vroukik se droom om 1 dag in die GROEN EN GOUD te ka speel. Die rooi gemors truiwil ek nie eens verniet he

      • Ingo

        Goed gese Willem. JY kan my nie eers betalls om daardie aaklige ding aan te trek nie.

  • Bambi Swanepoel

    Too bad. A lot of us have stopped supporting SA sports teams because of political interference, so it matters little!

    • Warren Kent

      Exactly – people were already not buying the original green and gold jersey anymore because of the poor form we have shown over the last few years due to the political interference.

      Making a red/blue/yellow or whatever colour you please jersey, is not going to fix things…

      • Ingo

        Definitelty Warren. Our problems are much more than that.

  • Hammer

    Buy the green and gold jersey, not the all gold tomato sauce one. That’ll show them.

    • Ingo

      I definitely won’t buy that red monstrosity.

  • Marvin

    This is a mockery of the Springbok jersey and a mockery of the heritage of our rugby!

  • Hugo

    I totally agree with JW – springbok rugby are losing the plot…an RED jersey,I do not care if it is one game or away game…the GREEN AND GOLD are OUR jersey of colour….it simplifies what our rugby and the springboks stand for !! Everything in this sport has become about money,pride is gone….todays players and administrators can learn from the squad of ’95 !!!!! passion pride and respect !!!!!

  • Alain

    Totally agree with Jake, you cannot suddenly change something that has been a part of Springbok rugby from day one. The comment by dbaggins is the answer to why this has happened, quote “the people that run rugby in SA are not rugby people”, unquote. Infact, if one looks across all sporting codes, the standard has dropped dramatically since 1994. The empty stadiums are a good indication that people no longer support their respective provinces, Proteas or the Springboks. Many of us have lost all hope, because our teams are now just a bunch of loses. In the past the best players were always selected to represent the country, today politics plays too big a role in selection. We will never win another major trophy again, across all sporting codes. It’s an absolute shame that a once proud and feared sporting nation has been reduced to wooden spooners of most competitions.

    • Nicholas Bart

      I totally back that notion Alain. Like Graham Henry said its like the Boks lost their mongrel. They play with speed and determination but no pride. The old Boks are literally crying at this moment to see how screwed up and disgusting rugby has become.

  • Sharky

    Are South African rugby supporters happy that we’ve got two teams leaving Super Rugby to go to Europe?

    Yes!! Well at least this supporter is. It will allow us to test new markets, send a message to our SANZAAR “friends” and allowing our players to experience new challenges and styles of play.

    Are they happy the Boks will be playing in red jerseys?

    HELL NO!!! Why do we need to change the colour – just create a one-off, special edition green and gold design. I do disagree with Jake on one thing though – I don’t think the red jersey is a money making ploy. A special edition green and gold jersey would make good money. I fear that this colour change is the beginning of something more sinister. Maybe testing the waters for a further change. Remember when, back in the early 1990’s, the ANC planned to scrap the Bok (and the green and gold) altogether? Well, in memory of 25 years passing since that horrible time SARU is giving those folks a present – a national rugby jersey with a protea over the heart that isn’t green or gold. Dumela!! I definitely won’t be buying one… and anybody wearing one of those red monstrosities better give me a wide berth.

    • Amien

      All our national teams play in green and gold I dont think anything sinister is going on. It is a once off finish and klaar.

  • JP

    Yet another reason I keep on supporting the All Blacks. History, tradition, honor, respect, the best players, the best coaches. That is what matters to them. Not your name. Not your skin color. Not racial demographics. Not politics. If u are the best coach, you coach the best team. If you are the best no. 10, you play for the national team. Because being the best in the world will bring people to the stadiums. Not a different jersey. Springboks, play in your red fake jersey. Say its part of the make up of the flag. Spin your lies. U wont get my bum in a seat at a stadium. You won’t get a cent of my money for a red limited jersey. Instead, NZ Rugby will get my money. And I know my adopted team will still kick your a$$.

    • Amien

      So why are u going on over a jersey colour? You just said playing good rugby will get bums on the seat. What has rugby got to do with a jersey colour?

  • Michael

    Personally JW, I think you and some others are making much ado about nothing. And this column is looking more like a whinge column with every additional post you do. I very much doubt people will/would buy the Jersey anyway, even it were available (I dont even know if you can buy it… I haven’t seen them anywhere…). So Money making scheme seems a little far fetched in my opinion. Secondly, it’s only ONE game, and the red actually does fit with the other yellow, blue and green jerseys. Sometimes people should just chill and maybe not take things so seriously…

    • stormramp

      So if it continues Michael wht then. Becus clearly to celebrate 25 yrs does not deserve for colors to be changed. It would have been nice just to see a limited green and gold jersey. One of a kind jersey. The logo on the jersey is already a knock off not to mention the FNB one now. If Bismarck or Francois had one on would he still look the same. Just asking becus i remember him in green and gold and not in a Heinz tomato paste shirt

      • Amien

        It is a once off people so chill. Where was rhe green and gold parade when the boks played the baabaas in a dark blue green jersey? You didnt care for that once off but you care now? We should be worried that we have no backup to elton or a professional tighthead in the squad. A jersey! Seriously!

  • Nol

    People who have never watched rugby will think they all are employed BY MTN!!!!
    AS A YOUNG FULL HEARTED RUGBY SUPPORTER BREEK DIT MY HART MET WAT ALLES GEBEUR MET ONS RUGBY. Ek se elke week ek is klaar met die bokke maar tog kyk ek hulle en maak moeite om die rugby nuus te lees. Ek kan ook nie vir n ander land skree nie. Politiek mors alles op!!

  • Bob Mugabe

    Red. To signify the death of democracy in South Africa. Now that would a great answer to the colour.

  • Jack Black

    The real problem is that ugly MTN design on the green n gold jersey. Nobody wants to buy it. Why didn’t they just print MTN in gold lettering? That would have solved the problem. I wonder whether it’s MTN insisting on the design or what? The Boks poor 2016 form led to a lack of willing sponsors and probably forced them into accepting this horrible design. More people are willing to buy the current Blitzbokke jersey and they’re selling like hotcakes at higher prices too nogal!

    • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

      Another good point Jack. The AIG on the All Black jersey is classy. I also think MTN have erred …

  • Hillie

    Dis ook ñ klap in die gesig van die Puma ondersteuners wat graag die Bokke in die bekende (ek kan ongelukkig nie meer sê “die eens gevreesde”) Groen en Goud wil sien speel nie. Die administrateurs behoort hulle te skaam. Toe toeskouers tydens die 95 WB die ou SA vlag gewaai het, was hulle gou om dit te verbied. Nou wil hulle kwansuis die rooi trui wat op “eenheid” dui in ons kele afdruk. WAT Ñ POT SNOT.

    • Ingo

      I also agree with Hillie. They won’t be able to say they played against the green and gold. Especially not any possible debutants.

    • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

      A good point made by Hillie – We do not need an “Away” jersey against the light blue and white of Argentina …

  • Mike

    If you call yourself a Bok supporter and support our Bok team through thick and thin…send out a message to the organisers, who ostensibly have have “sold out” on the green and gold. If you are going to the game or to a pub or function where the game is being aired… DONT BUY OR WEAR RED…wear the green and gold jersey that is our signature and heritage.

    • Green and Gold

      Great Idea wear your green and gold jersey, do not wear any red,

    • Fanus

      PIETIE…………..Jou “reply” sê ALS,jys seker groot jukskei ondersteuner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPRINGBOK RUGBY word IN DIE WERELD geken deur die GROEN EN GOUD!!!!!!!!!! Ek wil so ver gaan om te sê dis Politieke gesig koop!!!!! Well SAID Mr. WHITE

  • Johnny

    Jake, you are so right in your comments. The least to say is that I cannot support the Springboks as such. Green and Gold or nothing, and by that I mean I would rather support them wearing no jersey at all than the red one. Why don’t the administrators then do the rainbow jersey. It would look as ridiculous.

  • Stanley

    I can agree with Jake White that:

    1. The red jersey is a money making scheme (pity Vodacom is not the sponsor);
    2. Administrators should be judged on performance also and based on this Jury and the lot should have been fired already as SA rugby was without a sponsor and literally no money not too long ago\
    3. Why though, when Watson was not too happy to wear the jersey due to injustices in selection did nobody speak up in support?

    We are all quick to judge/blame transformation, but keep quiet when mediocre white players make the team? Surely Mapoe add more value than a Serfontein as he is talented but on top of that he can cover both centre and wing

  • Andy

    I’m with you Jake. That’s our team and our jersey we want to be proud of. Total gimmick. Wear the green and gold.

  • Phil Metter

    Snap, Snap and Snap again.

  • Cyber Sakkie

    “People will say “it’s only for one game”, but it isn’t. Where does it stop? Next we’ll be making exceptions so a guy can play for South Africa with a ponytail.”

    Cabous van der Westhuizen wouldn’t like this comment too much…

  • Max

    Ek stem saam met Jake.Die Bulle is n goeie voorbeeld van wat kan gebeur. Die blou trui het my altyd die horries gegee en vandag is dit die All Black trui.

  • Breganza

    Laat die Administrateurs rooi klere dra!!!!! Dan kan ons hulle duidelik uitken in die stadions en soos van ouds met naartjies gooi sodat hulle ons “ondersteuning” van hulle besluite kan aanvoel!!!! Go Groen en Goed!!!!!!

  • Sean

    Technically in marketing and strategically positioning branding terms, which MTN, FNB, ABSA, ASICS, and all other Top 100 Companies subscribe to, a 180 degree about face by SARU, from the Green & Gold brand attributes which have been developed over 125 years to RED, dismisses this entire residual brand asset.

    Moreover, in fan speak, this is a slap in the face for every single spectator and supporter who has invested in a Green & Gold jersey or Springbok memorabilia.

    It also disregards the fans investment in their ticket as
    Their support for the green & gold counts for naught.

    Why buy a ticket to support a RED team?

    This is one of the most diabolically idiotic marketing feaux pas’ made by a group of idiotic wannabe marketing administrators who will now count the cost of collateral damage to the Springbok brand in ticket Sales and merchandise.

    A fatally flawed decision which can be reversed today and have the team STILL run on to the pitch in Green & Gold tomorrow against the Pumas.

  • Green and Gold

    Green and Gold is our national pride, now lets keep politics out of this, because in SA Rugby any Tom, Dick or Harry gets capped to play for SA, I have got respect for 90% of the Black players that deserve to be in the team, the Kings showed it this year and I am sure had they not been booted out of Super Rugby they would have improved more next year, it wont be long and you will have a exodus of black players leaving our shores for greener pastures as they get over looked, bottom line is if you black /white/coloured and you deserve a spot then you deserve to be in the team, I personally do not support this era of SA rugby, due to the enforcement of ratios by our government,

  • Will

    I cannot support a bok team where selections aren’t based on merit. Thus I won’t be buying the green and gold.
    The red jersey will sell, because the only team playing good rugby in S.A is the Lions, hence myself buying the red jersey :)

  • Gee Cee

    After reading all the banter I went back to re-look at the the red jersey and I must say it doesn’t look bad, the only problem with it is the springbok badge on it. The springbok does not deserve to be on any other colour jersey than the green and gold or the white and green. So basically what they should do is remove the springbok from the red jersey and all will be okay because then it is just an ordinary politically correct team playing against a very, very proud Puma team. Problem solved!

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