South Africa made their first international tour to the United Kingdom in 1906, largely due to the success of the New Zealand All Blacks tour one year earlier. And similar to the New Zealand side, South Africa adopted their nickname on the tour and it was on this day in rugby history that the Springboks became official.
The team jersey and logo were agreed upon but team captain Paul Roos, vice-captain H. J. Carolin, and tour manager John Cecil “Daddy” Carden. Carden told the London Daily Mail on September 20, 1906 of the new name to keep the press from coming up with their own moniker for the team.
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“The team’s colours will be myrtle green jerseys with gold collar. They would wear dark blue shorts and dark blue stockings and the jersey would have been embroidered in mouse-coloured silk on the left breast a springbok, a small African antelope.”
“I spoke to Roos and Carolin and pointed out that the witty London Press would invent some funny name for us, if we did not invent one ourselves. We thereupon agreed to call ourselves ‘Springboks’, and to tell pressmen that we desired to be so named.”
Springboks is the anglicized version of the Afrikaans word Springbokken and the name obviously stuck as the team has been known as the Springboks around the world since their famous 1906 tour.
1971 – Todd Blackadder, New Zealand rugby player