Almost exactly a year ago the Springboks famously dispatched the English in a very one-sided clash in the final of the Rugby World Cup. On the 2nd of November 2019, the Springboks smashed England 32-12. From many miles away, we watched our boys take on the world and win.
It’s rare to get a look at behind the scenes of a successful team. American sports do it often with documentaries like 30 for 30 on ESPN among others. They give you the thought process of coaches and players alike, and it gives you a unique insight into the inner workings of successful sports teams and the emotional roller coaster it can be.
We have had a fair few successful teams in South Africa, including our National teams. We’ve won the World Cup thrice, and there is even a movie about our first Rugby World Cup triumph, but there has never been a decent documentary about our sport until now.
Chasing the Sun on DSTV encompasses all the raw emotions, all the tactical adjustments and technical insights you could hope for as a Springbok fan. Its starts out by taking you from probably the darkest day in recent Springbok history when we lost 57-0 to the All Blacks and ends off with an emotional lifting of the trophy.
While Rassie Erasmus was instrumental to our success, it was the players that bought into what he was saying as well that played a huge role. Watching Chasing the Sun, you will understand that players at the highest level need man-management more than actual coaching. These are the top athletes in their field, so it’s fair to say they know what they are doing, but when you pair exceptional talent with great coaches, very often there will be a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. Sure there are always things a player can improve, but it’s the mentality that the coaching staff managed to instil into the players that ultimately won the cup.
One take away from the documentary is pressure-pressure that’s often mentioned-The pressure of a final, the pressure to perform and the pressure from your opponent Rassie and his team managed to take all that pressure and turn it into something to galvanize the team.
It was probably unique to the Springboks in that Rassie talked about the pressure being a privilege. He explained that how can they feel the pressure when there are people back home with no money. There is people back home, working paycheck to paycheck to feed their children.
Some people are oppressed, raped and murdered every day in our country, and he explained that the players need to think less about their pressure and look to inspire hope to the hopeless.
It was Mandela who said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire.” It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. What the Springboks showed in this documentary is that people can overcome differences. It showed that when there is a common goal, we can truly achieve greatness.