The Extraordinary Book of South African Rugby
The Extraordinary Book of South African Rugby will hook any rugby fanatic. Packed with facts, stats, quotes and anecdotes, from the comical to the controversial, this collection celebrates the rich history of South African rugby. This extraordinary book will run fans through the most enthralling stories to come out of South African rugby, including: How Manie Reyneke was late for his wedding reception after playing a club semi-final; the 90-metre penalty by Oostelikes; how the first Springboks to travel by plane limped over the ocean on three engines; how Kimberley travelled 60 hours by mule wagon on their first tour to Cape Town; how Springbok Andy MacDonald killed a lion with his bare hands; the spectator tackle that cost Western Province the Currie Cup; Paul Roos' weekly 260 km cycle to Pretoria to play club rugby.
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This book is a welcome relief from the flood of ghost-written books about local rugby heroes. Van Der Berg is a rugby writer who knows the game. He should. Not only was he a rugby player but van der Berg has written many articles and books about rugby. His latest book The Extraordinary Book of South African Rugby highlights interesting snippets and incidents from the world of rugby.
The anecdotes show the fanatics of the rugby fan whether spectator, player or administrator. Manie Reyneke, former CEO of the Lions franchise was late for his wedding reception. He felt that playing a club game was far more important that celebrating his wedding. Controversial fan, Piet van Zyl, also makes an appearance in the book. He is that little rotund man who interrupted a test game by tackling and injuring a ref because he was not happy with the ref’s decisions.
Somehow, the rugby writer cannot stay away from statistics. Van der Berg is no exception. What would rugby be without reminders about how many times the Boks lost a Tri-nations test, how many tries were scored at a game or how many people attend the Easter Rugby festivals.
For the most part of the book, it is interesting. I would like to have seen an index at the end of the book. And a final request. Can we please move away from numbers and focus on stories that entertain?
by Ulrike Hill