2008-02-20 00:00

The Laureus World Sports Awards are the only global awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. Much in the style of the film Oscars, the winners are chosen by an academy, in this instance a 43-member assemblage of illustrious sportspeople. It was announced on Monday that the Springboks were to receive this year’s Laureus World Team of the Year Award, for winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup and for going through the tournament unbeaten. What a sparkling achievement, especially when one considers that the team came out ahead of such outstanding nominees as AC Milan, the Australian cricket team and Ferrari.

And so South African rugby presented a brilliantly lit shop window to the world, perhaps itself believing, for a moment anyway, that it truly reflects the realities of the game in this country. But those realities are very different. Behind all the dazzle and glamour of the awards ceremony is the boardroom, a place of bitter disagreement, backbiting and politicking. That the Springboks were able to rise above this to attain their present pre-eminent position in world rugby is a credit to their skill, their dedication, their courage and their spirit.

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