Rugby World Cup

Have you been watching the Rugby World Cup?  The tournament heads into the Quarter-Final “knockout” stage this weekend. The Rugby World Cup is the third largest sporting event in the world (after only the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup.)  The Rugby World Cup takes place every four years and brings together the top 20 international sides to battle for global rugby supremacy. Check out our display of materials related to Rugby Union Football.

rugby1111For more about Rugby and the World Cup:

Mandela and Rugby

For the rugby players and fans of rugby football in our community, there is another compelling story related to the late Nelson Mandela. While soccer was a sport embraced by the black South African population, for most of the 20th century rugby was the sport of choice for white South Africans, so much so that very many blacks, rugby was a symbol of the racism and oppression of Apartheid. As much as anybody else, Nelson Mandela changed that. Mandela understood the importance of rugby to white South African culture. As he struggled to lead South Africa through the transition from Apartheid, Mandela understood that rugby might be a key factor in garnering support from the white community and perhaps even help step closer to the dream of a racially united “rainbow nation.” As South Africa prepared to host the 1995 World Cup of Rugby, Mandela became the Sprinboks’ number one fan. That the Boks went on to win the World Cup was the storybook ending. It was a truly memorable scene to witness Mandela, clad in his Springboks uniform, once a symbol of Apartheid, handing the Webb Ellis Cup to the Boks’ Captain, Francois Piennar.

To learn more about this fascinating intersection between sport, politics, culture and history, check out the following:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.35.10 AMPlaying the Enemy by John Carlin (2008).

“Invictus,” a film (2009) by Clint Eastwood, starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Springboks’ Captain Francois Piennar. Based on Playing the Enemy.


“The 16th Man,” an ESPN 30 For 30 documentary produced by Morgan Freeman.