Springboks' Bold Kit Change: A Winning Move on and off the Field

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Springboks’ Bold Kit Change: A Winning Move on and off the Field

14 Sep, 2023

The Springboks, South Africa’s renowned rugby team, have not only dominated the headlines with their on-field prowess but have also sparked a fervent global conversation about their unconventional away kit. This teal and white ensemble, complete with matching teal shorts, has polarized fans, generating a spirited debate that has taken social media by storm.

Former Springboks captain, John Smit, couldn’t resist weighing in on the jersey controversy, declaring, “Great start Boks, I still can’t handle that jersey though,” via the widely used social media platform, X (formerly Twitter). A quick-witted reply humorously suggested that “Checkers must have paid a lot to have those colours,” evoking a wave of laughter and memes.

To some, this may seem like a trivial debate over jersey aesthetics, but there’s more to the story than meets the eye. The Springboks’ switch to teal and white may be deliberate and forward-thinking. World Rugby, keen on enhancing inclusivity, designated September 6 as World Colour Blind Awareness Day. For the 2023 Rugby World Cup, they collaborated closely with participating rugby unions and Colour Blind Awareness (CBA) to minimize kit clashes, a long-standing issue for colour blind individuals.

Kits with colours too similar to distinguish for those with colour blindness due to insufficient contrast or intricate designs were targeted for adjustments. This decision was made while being mindful of manufacturing and commercial considerations. For instance, the clash between Portugal’s dark red primary kit and Wales’ black alternate kit in a Group C match in Nice on September 16 prompted both teams to commit to wearing their alternate kits in support of the cause.

Rigorous kit testing, along with broadcast kit testing, began in early 2023 to ensure maximum contrast between the kits of both teams and match officials. This initiative extends beyond the field, aiming to benefit colour blind individuals in various aspects of the game. From ticketing and accreditation to venue signage and digital platforms, there’s a concerted effort to ensure sufficient colour differentiation.

What may seem like a bold fashion statement by the Springboks is, in fact, a clever marketing move that has gone viral. By adopting the teal and white kit for away matches, Siya Kolisi’s team not only aligns with World Rugby’s inclusivity goals but also stands out in the rugby world. Their willingness to embrace change and support a worthy cause demonstrates that the Springboks are not just champions on the field but also trailblazers in promoting inclusivity in sports.

As a result, the iconic green and gold may take a back seat when the Springboks play away from South Africa, subject to the outcome of the coin toss at this World Cup. However, their impact, both as a rugby powerhouse and as advocates for inclusivity, is bound to leave a lasting impression on fans worldwide.


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