n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - The green and gold : who can claim it? history - : sport history

Volume 13, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


It is widely known that the green and gold are South Africa's national sports colours. Yet one often hears and reads that the Australians call sports colours "the green and gold". A need was felt to research the origin of the "green and gold" to decide who can claim it. The first South African sportsmen wore green on foreign soil. It all started with Laurens Meintjes, who represented South Africa overseas in 1893. In 1895 the Blignaut brothers, Gradwell and Hunter also represented the SAAAA in green, but with yellow or orange as an additional colour. The orange and yellow, as described in the contemporary sources, can be compared with the current gold. Even though the above-mentioned South African cyclist and athletes wore green before our rugby players did (the first time this happened with rugby was in 1896), it was rugby that adopted green as the dominant national colour in South Africa, while the cricketers were the ones to do so in Australia. They started wearing it in 1899 in that country. In 1908 both countries chose green for the Olympic Games in London, the difference being that the South Africans left here as Springboks, while the Australians only chose the colour at the Games. Taking these facts into consideration, South Africa was first to use the colour green in international competitions, so its players should have the honour of referring to themselves as the green and gold team. Australian players, who play in the dominant gold, should rather call themselves the gold and green team.

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