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Saturday, June 15, 2024

LISTEN: Springbok alternative kit saga … World Rugby’s jersey decision has opened colour blind rugby fans’ eyes

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While much of the furore over the Springboks’ new away kit was centred on the departure from the traditional green and gold during their Rugby World Cup opener over the weekend, it’s also quite possibly a watershed moment for colour blind spectators.

While some ardent Springbok fans were upset that the Boks had to wear their teal and white jersey – with teal shorts to match – away kit against Scotland, it’s made the game much more enjoyable to watch for a previously disregarded segment of rugby supporters.

Incredibly, it seemed that more of the post-game discussions centred on the Springbok kit and its resemblance to the Checkers colours, than on the 18-3 victory over Scotland and the solid performances the SA players managed.

There was indeed, as IOL Sport reported, method to World Rugby and the Springboks’ jersey madness.

‘I would have just seen 30 guys running around’

The blue Scotland strip and the green Springbok jersey could make it particularly difficult for some to distinguish the two sets of players as listener Asthon Kok told HeartFM breakfast show host Aden Thomas on Tuesday morning.

“It absolutely helps. If they had to wear their original kits, I would have just seen 30 guys running around!” Kok said

Kok explained how difficult certain colours can be difficult to differentiate for him and other colour blind rugby supporters.

“Green and red, green and brown, black and green. There’s no difference for example when I see red and green next to each other. I will just see red. The next day, they can both appear as green.”

Heart FM sound engineer Francois Nel, who is also colour blind, explained what happens to people’s sight when colour blind. It’s not all black and white.

“Everyone has different colours that affect you. It’s just confusing because your eyes can’t focus very quickly.”

Another rugby fan Jonathan Sutton said on X (formerly Twitter): “Watching any two teams with green v red is impossible, whether it’s live in the stadium or on TV, the closeness of players in scrums or mauls is so difficult and I have stopped trying to watch now. All sides have alternative kits and not choosing close matched colours would help.”

Darragh Nolan said on X: “I am literally begging you to make it so a @IrishRugby vs @WelshRugbyUnion is NEVER green vs red again. It’s long overdue. I’m incapable of watching one Six Nations game a year.”

Jen Delnevo said on X: “So glad this issue is being addressed, I’m a Mum who is colourblind which has meant that my 4 boys are colourblind too. Red/Green, Blue/Purple, Orange/Green etc a nightmare for all of us, especially in the rucks, wearing bibs etc.”

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Fighting the good fight for colour impaired fans

In fact, colour impaired rugby fans have someone in their corner as World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont is personally pushing for more inclusivity.

“Everyone is welcome in rugby. We exist to ensure that rugby is accessible and inclusive for all. Underscoring that commitment, we recognise the challenges that people with colour blindness or colour vision deficiency (CVD) have participating and experiencing our sport,” said Beaumont.

“I too have CVD and I am proud of the steps that we have taken in partnership with Colour Blind Awareness to both educate and inform in this important area in the form of these guidelines.

“Whether you are at the community or elite levels of the game, this guidance is designed to help you ensure that colour blind people are welcomed, have an exceptional experience, enjoying all the huge lifelong benefits that rugby can offer. Together we can ensure that the game is as inclusive as possible for everyone.”

However, Springbok fans that battle to get over the new kit colours can still breathe a sigh of relief – that if Siya Kolisi wins the coin toss in upcoming matches, the Boks – as the home side – will indeed don the ‘Green and Gold’ again.


IOL Sport

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