OPINION | What makes a Springbok: nature or nurture?

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Hard work has seen Marcell Coetzee (left) and Jannie Brooks shine for the Springboks.
Hard work has seen Marcell Coetzee (left) and Jannie Brooks shine for the Springboks.

Many have pronounced on what it takes for a boy to become a Springbok. For Danie Craven family lineage — the bloodline as he called it — was a major factor; and he would point to brothers, and even fathers and sons — such as Felix and Morné Du Plessis — who wore the green-and-gold jersey.

During the whites-only days Craven’s assertion certainly held water, with big giant-like Afrikaner men dominating Bok teams, and intimidating the opposition. So much so that a Welsh pundit opined that “Springboks are not born, they are planted”.

The 1912-13 Springbok team to England was almost a family affair, in that there were three Luyt brothers, two Morkel brothers, while other team members were brothers or cousins of former Boks.

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