It was an incredible honour for Richard and Mark from Billy Tong to be invited to supply the Springboks Rugby team with biltong while they played in the 2022 UK autumn series. They were approached by the team’s representatives, who had heard of their reputation for producing high-quality, authentic biltong and wanted to provide the players with a taste of home whilst they were away.
It was a proud moment for both of them to know that the South African national team would enjoy their biltong, and they were excited to be able to play an albeit small part in supporting the Springboks during their journey.
100g packs were supplied to the SA team in all 20 flavours, so everyone had an opportunity to discover their favourite flavour. Typically, these rugby athletes would opt for their seven-day snack pack.
The Billy Tong team felt privileged and humbled by this opportunity and was determined to deliver the best product for the Springbok players.
SPRINGBOKS RUGBY HISTORY
The Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, have a rich and storied history dating back over a century. The team, named after the springbok antelope, has represented South Africa in international rugby competitions since 1891 and has become one of the most successful and recognizable teams in the world of rugby.
The early years of Springboks rugby were marked by a series of tours to the United Kingdom, during which the team faced off against some of the world’s top clubs and national teams. These tours were not only an opportunity for the team to showcase their skills on the international stage, but they also served as a symbol of national pride and unity for the people of South Africa.
It was in the 1920s that the Springboks started to establish themselves as a dominant force in international rugby. In 1924, the team made their first tour of New Zealand and Australia and won all of their matches, including a series against the All Blacks. This tour would be the first of many successes for the Springboks in the coming decades.
The team’s success continued throughout the 1930s and 1940s, with the Springboks winning their first official series playing the British and Irish Lions in 1938 and completing a tour of the UK and Ireland without a loss in 1951.
The 1950s and 1960s became a period of significant change for South Africa as the country struggled with issues of race and apartheid. As a result, the Springboks were increasingly isolated on the international stage and faced a growing number of boycotts and protests. Despite this, the team continued to perform at a high level, winning the Tri-Nations tournament in 1960 and completing a tour of the UK and Ireland without a loss in 1956.
THE RELEASE OF NELSON MANDELA CHANGES EVERYTHING
It was only in the 1990s, with the release of Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid, that the Springboks began to compete once again on the international stage. Under the leadership of new captain François Pienaar, the team won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted by South Africa. The tournament was notable not only for the team’s on-field success but also for the way it brought the country together and helped to unite the nation in the wake of the end of apartheid. This moment is widely considered one of the significant achievements in South African history, even today.
Since their World Cup victory, the Springboks have won numerous other international tournaments and competitions, including the Tri-Nations (now the Rugby Championship) in 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2019, and the Rugby World Cup again in 2007. The team has also consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the world, and its players have been among the most highly respected and decorated in the sport. And they end 2022 by continuing their superb playing skills in the UK.
THE SPRINGBOKS SUCCESS
The Springboks’ success on the field is undoubtedly a testament to the dedication and unquestioned skill of the players and coaching staff. Still, it is also a reflection of the passion and pride of the South African people. The team’s history is intricately tied to the country’s history, and how they have represented South Africa on the international stage has played a significant role in shaping the national identity.
In summary, the Springboks Rugby team have a long history of success and representation of South Africa, despite its challenges and difficulties during apartheid. The team has played a vital role in South African society, and the unity it has brought through rugby tournaments in the country remains a major achievement in the country’s history.