Springboks Test with Wales in United States Offers Important First for SA

The Springboks have a black captain for the first time in history, as the side will play Test matches with England.&nbsp

Siya Kolisi was handed the captaincy for the upcoming series, three quarters of a century after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball in 1942.

Kolisi was a temporary captain last year, subbing for Eben Etzbeth when the latter was injured during a game.

Kolisi’s elevation to Springboks captain was not without precedent; however, as Chiliboy Ralepelle served as captain in a World XV game in 2006 that was an international, but did not enjoy Test Status.

The Springboks’ history dates back 127 years.

Kolisi made his debut for South Africa’s Springboks in 2013, going in as a fifth minute replacement and finishing the game as the man of the match.

It is something of an irony that sports, what some would consider one of the more egalitarian pursuits of the human race, at least in terms of teams always on the hunt for talent, would take so long to break down colour barriers in some instances.

South Africa is taking a big side to play Wales in a tour of the United States. Rugby is slowly, but inexorably growing in popularity in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, just as soccer has proven that there is a market outside of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

It might prove the case that rugby in the U.S. will impose strict salary caps, similar to those of Major League Soccer, lest that sucking sound you hear is that of Kiwi ruggers flocking to the gold-paved streets where mediocre basketballers earn salaries that would make the GDP of more than a few countries look paltry by comparison.

Long considered by the Yanks as an excuse to be drunk in the morning, rugby is drawing large crowds to large venues, where the best teams and players in the world demonstrate the future of rugby.