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

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    Politics.ie Member gerhard dengler's Avatar
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    Default Rebel Tours and visits to South Africa during the Apartheid Era.

    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
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    Politics.ie Member making waves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerhard dengler View Post
    The participants in that tour didn't suffer any long term problems as regards their taking part in that tour.
    Tony Ward was treated abominably when he refused to go on the 1981 tour.
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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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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.
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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidney waddell View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManUnited View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidney waddell View Post
    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
    I didn't know that, just remembered he didn't go and presumed it was on moral grounds. Another hero bits the dust, cynicism with the world complete. Life is not a bowl of cherries anymore.

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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?

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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
    Is there any Incompetence Scandal or Corruption that would actually make the Irish electorate wake up ....It seems not, so screw em

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidney waddell View Post
    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.
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