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Rebel Tours and visits to South Africa during the Apartheid Era.


gerhard dengler

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Until 1992, Apartheid South Africa was put in to sporting, economic, cultural and political isolation by the international community.

This boycott extended to various degrees depending on the willingness of those sectors who were prepared to violate the collective decision to isolate a country which operated a dreadful regime of oppression and racism.

There were some sports and teams who flouted the international quarantine of Apartheid South Africa.
1980 British and Irish Lions tour to that country went ahead despite international condemnation.
The participants in that tour didn't suffer any long term problems as regards their taking part in that tour.

But contrast this with the rebel cricket tours of South Africa in 1982/83 and 1983/84 by a team from the West Indies.

CNN ran a fascinating documentary about those two tours and the effect of those tours both on the tour participants and the South Africans.
The South African cricketers were delighted to get a chance to play against "strength test" touring team.
The South African public turned out in their thousands to see the tourists play.

However the West Indian players who took part in those tours were consigned "to coventry" as soon as they returned home and resentment for what they did remains to this day.
So much so that many of those players who toured SA were forced to emigrate from the West Indies.
Lawrence Rowe who was a superb batsman and who had represented the WI in test cricket was forced to emigrate permanently to the USA as a result of touring SA in the rebel tours.

It should be remembered that at the time the West Indies had probably the greatest team ever in cricket and the amount of world class West Indies players who could not get in to their test team, probably made those players susceptible to offers to play "test cricket" against SA in SA.

In other areas such as entertainment, international acts were paid huge money to play Sun City in SA during that era.
But unlike the West Indian cricketers who broke sports sanctions, international acts such as Queen never suffered any backlash for going to Sun City.

It is very interesting to read the differing reactions to various types of sanction busting.

If you can view the CNN documentary it is worth watching to see the story of how the West Indian players fared in the aftermath of those tours.

Branded a rebel: Cricket's forgotten men - CNN.com
 

Sync

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It was an emotive time, I remember the widespread debate around Paul Simon making Graceland there with both sides of the argument having valid concerns.

In the Windies case you need to look at the history of the islands as well when understanding why the public disquiet there was higher than the UK for the Lions. The islands were a hub for the slave trade and identified strongly with the plight of the South Africans. The banning of the players was open and shut. They went on a test game not approved by the Cricket board.
 

sidney waddell

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Cricket banned South Africa from international competition in 1970. Yet international rugby teams inexplicably and disgracefully continued to go on officially sanctioned tours of South Africa until as late as 1984.

The names of players who refused to go on these tours deserve an honourable mention - England's John Taylor who passed up a place on the 1974 Lions tour, Hugo MacNeill who didn't tour with Ireland in 1981, Stuart Barnes who refused to tour with England in 1984 and David Kirk who was the only New Zealand player who refused to go on the sickening, unofficial 1986 NZ Cavaliers tour and captained New Zealand to the first World Cup a year later. The New Zealand Prime Minister said before that World Cup that he couldn't support the team because many of them had gone on that tour to South Africa. (They received a six month ban I think so were eligible again by the time the World Cup came around).

The final cricket rebel tour in 1990 coincided with the release of Nelson Mandela and by all accounts turned into the shambles it deserved to be.

The documentary "Fire In Babylon" about West Indian cricket covers the rebel tours mentioned in the OP.
 

ManUnited

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Cricket banned South Africa from international competition in 1970. Yet international rugby teams inexplicably and disgracefully continued to go on officially sanctioned tours of South Africa until as late as 1984.

The names of players who refused to go on these tours deserve an honourable mention - England's John Taylor who passed up a place on the 1974 Lions tour, Hugo MacNeill who didn't tour with Ireland in 1981, Stuart Barnes who refused to tour with England in 1984 and David Kirk who was the only New Zealand player who refused to go on the sickening, unofficial 1986 NZ Cavaliers tour and captained New Zealand to the first World Cup a year later. The New Zealand Prime Minister said before that World Cup that he couldn't support the team because many of them had gone on that tour to South Africa. (They received a six month ban I think so were eligible again by the time the World Cup came around).

The final cricket rebel tour in 1990 coincided with the release of Nelson Mandela and by all accounts turned into the shambles it deserved to be.

The documentary "Fire In Babylon" about West Indian cricket covers the rebel tours mentioned in the OP.
Great post, but you forgot John Kirwan, who refused to go as well.
 

sidney waddell

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Great post, but you forgot John Kirwan, who refused to go as well.
This article says that Kirwan didn't tour because he needed a rest rather than on moral grounds:

Gavin Mortimer interviews David Kirk | Sport | Observer Sport Monthly
Many New Zealanders tried to console themselves with the news that two players had refused to go on moral grounds: David Kirk, the captain of Auckland, and Manawatu's Bruce Hemara, an uncapped hooker. A third player, 21-year-old wing John Kirwan, also declined to tour, not for political reasons but because he needed a rest after spending five months playing club rugby in Italy.
 

sidney waddell

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Can anybody who was around at the time explain why rugby took 14 years to match cricket's stance in banning South Africa?
 

brughahaha

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Some very big hitters in the music business also shamefully ignored the boycott , or got around it by playing "Suncity"
Still hate queen to this day for going there in '84
 

gerhard dengler

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Can anybody who was around at the time explain why rugby took 14 years to match cricket's stance in banning South Africa?
Good question.

I remember the furore when NZRFU hosted a touring SA rugby team in 1981 - there was an ambivalence at best within the IRB with regard to isolating SA.

I can recall several NZ players not wanting to have anything to do with that tour.
Graham Mourie for example refused point blank to have anything to do with that tour.

As for touring to SA, taking the kurggerrands appealed to some rugby players as well as cricketers.
The NZ Cavaliers toured SA in 1986 and were prepared to accept the SA lolly.
 

JohnD66

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Irish cyclist and now UCI supremo Pat McQuaid apparently broke the boycott under a false name to prepare for the Olympics in 1975.

16 McQuaid (2) |
 

Glenshane4

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This thread reawakens bitter memories.

In 1979 the government of Eire, led by Mr Jack Lynch of Cork, banned the visit to Limerick of a rugby team from South Africa. The Foreign Minister of Eire, a Mr Kennedy from Tipperary, explained "The government is opposed to discrimination in sport whether on grounds of race or religion."

That same month the Linfield soccer team from Belfast was allowed to play in Dundalk where their fans caused a riot.
 

ffc

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Little_Korean

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Some very big hitters in the music business also shamefully ignored the boycott , or got around it by playing "Suncity"
Still hate queen to this day for going there in '84
To be fair, it's not like they signed up for the boycott in the first place.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Can anybody who was around at the time explain why rugby took 14 years to match cricket's stance in banning South Africa?


You only have to look at some of the creatures who the IRFU has glorified - the nonce fascist loyalist scumpig Tweed for example - to find the answer to that conundrum :)
 

Seanie Lemass

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gerhard dengler

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Then there is Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

Fronting a boycott of the only democracy in the middle east but happy to play in front of the Chinese elite's brats :roll:
You don't get it.

Brian May played in South Africa during the Apartheid era.

Brian May subsequently played in a concert for the man who opposed Apartheid many years later.

Any possible comparison to Water, the Middle East and China is moronic.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Why is it?

Waters plays in front of the scum who are in power on the backs of tens of millions of dead and millions of exisiting slaves but has the hissy fits about Israel! He's either stupid or anti - Semite.
 

toconn

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Can anybody who was around at the time explain why rugby took 14 years to match cricket's stance in banning South Africa?
No ! As a rugby ex player , fan and devotee it is inexcusable . Fair play to Tony Ward and others who didn't take the inducements , also Stuart Barnes , can be irritating but still a man of principle ,I believe it cost him an England career.
 

Seanie Lemass

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No ! As a rugby ex player , fan and devotee it is inexcusable . Fair play to Tony Ward and others who didn't take the inducements , also Stuart Barnes , can be irritating but still a man of principle ,I believe it cost him an England career.

They were brave. However, some of the Ulster players who have worn Irish shirts are a disgrace. Tweed has been exposed now as a child rapist but they had no problem with him when he was terrorising old women going to mass.
 
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