Why so Blue? The story behind the Springboks “Encourage-Mint” Green Kit!
Photo Cred: Good Things Guy | Brent Lindeque

The Springboks’ decision to don a mint green kit, affectionately dubbed “encourage-mint,” reflects their commitment to inclusivity and accommodating all rugby fans.

 

Paris, France (11 September 2023) – In July 2023, the rugby world was taken aback when the South African Springboks unveiled their new “away” kit in a surprising shade of mint green.

For a team that has always donned the iconic green and gold, this change was met with mixed reactions from fans and social media pundits alike. But as the saying goes, there’s always more than meets the eye, and the story behind this minty change goes beyond aesthetics.

SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer expressed immense pride in what Nike had provided and the positive feedback from the team regarding their new gear. He explained that the new jersey aimed to honour the Springboks’ traditions while introducing subtle nuances to set it apart. Indeed, the design and construction of the jersey remained faithful to the Springbok legacy, but its colour had undergone a refreshing transformation.

“We are immensely proud of what Nike has provided and the feedback from the team has been great since they were kitted with the training gear recently,” Oberholzer explained.

So, why did the Springboks depart from their iconic green and gold?

Why so Blue? The story behind the Springboks “Encourage-Mint” Green Kit!
Photo Cred: Nike

The answer lies in the desire to be inclusive and accommodating to all rugby fans, including those with colour vision deficiencies. World Rugby, the governing body of international rugby, introduced a new policy to address the needs of colourblind and vision-impaired fans. This policy, set to come into full effect in 2025, has already made its mark at the Rugby World Cup.

During the tournament, teams were asked to switch their traditional colours for kits that offered better contrast, making it easier for fans with colour vision deficiencies to distinguish between the teams on the field.

While the Springboks have embraced this change, there’s no denying that it sparked passionate debates among South African social media users. Some praised the mint green kit as fresh and modern, while others jokingly suggested it resembled the branding of Checkers Sixty60, FNB, or even Listerine.

However, amid all the fashion critiques, one important message emerged – the need to rally behind our national team.

Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick affirmed that the change in the “away” kit didn’t bother the team at all, despite the initial backlash. The players understood the importance of accommodating all fans and ensuring that rugby remains a sport for everyone to enjoy.

In the grand scheme of things, the mint green colour may indeed be vastly different from the cherished green and gold, but it symbolizes kindness in action. Perhaps we should affectionately rename it the “encourage-mint” kit, highlighting the Springboks’ commitment to inclusivity and their belief that rugby should be a sport where everyone feels welcome.

In the end, while the jerseys may change, the spirit of the Springboks remains unyielding.

As they continue to compete on the world stage, their unwavering dedication to the game and its fans will always be the true source of South African pride. So, whether you’re a fan of the minty makeover or not, let’s remember that the Springboks will always be a symbol of unity, strength, and the power of sport to bring people together.

Springboks Crush Scotland 18-3 in Rugby World Cup Opener!
Photo Cred: Rugby South Africa Facebook Page | by Cameron Spencer

Sources: Springboks 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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