South Africa’s rugby triumph and history

Letters
After the multiracial Springboks team’s World Cup victory, Chas Ball recalls an anti-apartheid protest when the team played in Swansea 50 years ago. Meanwhile Steve Mason believes the game itself needs to change. Now that a multiracial Springboks team have triumphed in the Rugby World Cup, we need to remember the level of controversy that surrounded an all-white South African rugby team touring Britain 50 years ago. I remember that on 15 November 1969 as the team was due to play in Swansea, a large protest assembled and peacefully marched from the civic centre, through the town, to the ground. A few people invaded the pitch at half-time. The response of the South Wales police and aggressive “vigilantes” ensured that the protest reached the front pages of the national press and generated much support. I was one of many students from Cardiff who joined the protest. We experienced a form of partisan public order policing that we have never forgotten and led to critical editorials in several newspapers. Predictably, after a police investigation of themselves, the then home secretary, James Callaghan, found the police had no case to answer. Inevitably, these events radicalised many protesters. This match occurred shortly after the MCC’s selection of Basil D’Oliveira for the England cricket team was effectively vetoed by an apartheid government. Our anti-apartheid protests in Swansea ensured that opposition to the rest of the tour was high profile. Chas Ball Huddersfield . Rather than crying over England’s World Cup loss to South Africa, we should be be bemoaning the state of the game of rugby union. I recorded all the knockout games and on playback had no more than 40 minutes of viewing, having eliminated the inordinate amount of time wasted on scrums and lineouts. Drastic action is needed if the sport is ever to emulate the excitement and flow of the round ball game. Steve Mason Hornchurch, Essex . Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com . Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters . Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition
After the multiracial Springboks team’s World Cup victory, Chas Ball recalls an anti-apartheid protest when the team played in Swansea 50 years ago. Meanwhile Steve Mason believes the game itself needs to change. Now that a multiracial Springboks team have triumphed in the Rugby World Cup, we need to remember the level of controversy that surrounded an all-white South African rugby team touring Britain 50 years ago. I remember that on 15 November 1969 as the team was due to play in Swansea, a large protest assembled and peacefully marched from the civic centre, through the town, to the ground. A few people invaded the pitch at half-time. The response of the South Wales police and aggressive “vigilantes” ensured that the protest reached the front pages of the national press and generated much support. I was one of many students from Cardiff who joined the protest. We experienced a form of partisan public order policing that we have never forgotten and led to critical editorials in several newspapers. Predictably, after a police investigation of themselves, the then home secretary, James Callaghan, found the police had no case to answer. Inevitably, these events radicalised many protesters. This match occurred shortly after the MCC’s selection of Basil D’Oliveira for the England cricket team was effectively vetoed by an apartheid government. Our anti-apartheid protests in Swansea ensured that opposition to the rest of the tour was high profile. Chas Ball Huddersfield . Rather than crying over England’s World Cup loss to South Africa, we should be be bemoaning the state of the game of rugby union. I recorded all the knockout games and on playback had no more than 40 minutes of viewing, having eliminated the inordinate amount of time wasted on scrums and lineouts. Drastic action is needed if the sport is ever to emulate the excitement and flow of the round ball game. Steve Mason Hornchurch, Essex . Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com . Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters . Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition

Now that a multiracial Springboks team have triumphed in the Rugby World Cup, we need to remember the level of controversy that surrounded an all-white South African rugby team touring Britain 50 years ago. I remember that on 15 November 1969 as the team was due to play in Swansea, a large protest assembled and peacefully marched from the civic centre, through the town, to the ground. A few people invaded the pitch at half-time.

The response of the South Wales police and aggressive “vigilantes” ensured that the protest reached the front pages of the national press and generated much support.

I was one of many students from Cardiff who joined the protest. We experienced a form of partisan public order policing that we have never forgotten and led to critical editorials in several newspapers. Predictably, after a police investigation of themselves, the then home secretary, James Callaghan, found the police had no case to answer. Inevitably, these events radicalised many protesters.

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This match occurred shortly after the MCC’s selection of Basil D’Oliveira for the England cricket team was effectively vetoed by an apartheid government. Our anti-apartheid protests in Swansea ensured that opposition to the rest of the tour was high profile.
Chas Ball
Huddersfield

• Rather than crying over England’s World Cup loss to South Africa, we should be be bemoaning the state of the game of rugby union.

I recorded all the knockout games and on playback had no more than 40 minutes of viewing, having eliminated the inordinate amount of time wasted on scrums and lineouts. Drastic action is needed if the sport is ever to emulate the excitement and flow of the round ball game.
Steve Mason
Hornchurch, Essex

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition

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