Springbok colors refer to the green and gold blazers worn by members of South Africa's national rugby union squad. Since their inception in 1906, they have been presented to teams and individuals representing South Africa in international competitions in any sport.
The term "springbok" comes from a small antelope that was present in southern Africa when Europeans first started hunting them for sport and profit. The animals are distinguishable by their spiky hair and upright stance. They can run very fast for their size, with estimates putting their speed at up to 35 miles per hour.
In 1816, British settlers introduced cattle into South Africa, which led to an increase in grazing land and more lucrative markets for local farmers. Cattle prices fell, however, when more efficient breeds were developed in England. By the early 20th century, sheep dominated the market and were considered better breeding stock. When Germany entered the world war I in 1914, its government offered a prize of $100,000 for the production of a viable jet engine. No one succeeded until 1943, when Frank Whittle created the first working model of a turbojet engine. It was named after him; the "Whittle Jet".
After World War II, former players from the German football team asked some Dutch entrepreneurs if they could make a better ball for soccer.
Because non-whites were not allowed to be recruited for South African national sports teams, the Springbok colors were associated with white supremacy in apartheid South Africa because they were exclusively granted to white athletes. Today, those colors can be found on the uniforms of both the rugby union team and the cricket team.
The original idea for a professional rugby union team in South Africa was proposed by John Heidenry in 1883. The first official match of what would become known as the "Springboks" took place on 16 February 1889 when the British team invitational played a test match against various other international sides in Cape Town. The Springboks won this match 33-3.
During the early years of the sport, it was dominated by the three colonial powers of Britain, France, and Germany. It wasn't until 1903 that an African country joined the fold. The Springboks traveled to London for their first official international tournament - the British Empire Games. The winner of this tournament would be chosen by which country had the most points after playing a round-robin style tournament. The Springboks finished first in the tournament's final standings with 13 points.
After the British Empire Games, the Springboks went on an overseas tour that included matches in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.
South Africa won their first test against the British in 1896, and the green jerseys were worn for the first time. Because of the springbuck on their emblem, the 1906 squad became known as the "Springboks." The now-famous green and gold outfit was also utilized in this year.
After many years, when South Africa went back to international cricket, they adopted the name "Springboks" again. In addition, there are several other teams that use the term "Bok" as an abbreviation. For example, Northern Transvaal used to be known as the "Bokkies." Finally, a few other teams that use "Bok" as an acronym include: Canada, England, India, Pakistan, and West Indies.
The origin of the word "Bok" is disputed. Some say it comes from a Dutch language word meaning "antelope," while others claim it's derived from a Khoisan word for "first light." Whatever the case may be, today's cricketers deserve better nicknames than something that can be interpreted so differently by people all over the world.
Besides, no one calls South Africans "Bucks" or "Hens". They're always called "Springboks".
The Springboks 'A', often known as the Junior Springboks or the Emerging Springboks, are South Africa's second national rugby union side, ranking below the main national team, the Springboks. The squad consists of players of various ages and is not a youth team. They play in green and gold, with gold being used for major tournaments such as the World Cup. The Springboks 'A' have never won the World Cup but have made the final three times (1958, 1971, and 1973).
The term "Springbok" is also used by other sports teams from South Africa: the original Springboks were a rugby union team that played in green and yellow; today, they are considered one of the founding members of the international rugby league community and have represented Australia at the sport's global competition, the Rugby League World Cup. The original Springboks also competed in the first Olympic rugby tournament in 1900 and the only South African team to ever win an Olympic medal. In addition, several Springboks have been selected to represent South Africa at the cricket world cup tournament.
Finally, the term "Springbok" is also used as a nickname for any player who plays for South Africa's national rugby union team, the Springboks. The name comes from the fact that the original Springboks wore animal skins as clothing. Today, it is more commonly used as a form of identification rather than a surname.
South African athletic teams were renamed the Proteas by the ANC administration. However, the rugby team retained the name Springboks following the intervention of then-President Nelson Mandela, who did so as a gesture of goodwill to the predominantly white rugby squad (and largely Afrikaner)...
Madiba later changed his mind about the name change and ordered that all sporting teams be allowed to choose their own names again. The Springboks chose not to change their name despite President Mandela's order.
However, after Madiba died in December 2013, the government has decided to rename all former presidential flags to reflect the changing of the guard system used by most countries around the world. The Springbok flag will be one of the ones affected by this decision. It will be replaced with a new flag featuring an eagle standing on a rock with a shield in its talons...