INTRODUCTION: For the South African Springbok Rugby team the waiting is over.
GV Springboks rugby team at final practice.
SV PAN Ball thrown to line out, passed and run by backs, Tobias, only coloured player finishing with ball.
SV Players in scrumdown.
SV INTERIOR Players trying on blazers with team colours.
CU Naas Botha trying on blazer.
GV Players walking to aircraft. (2 SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR Plane. Visnews reporter Kevin Hamilton talking to Professor Claasen, tour manager.
SV PAN Playing cards during flight, Tobias sleeping. (3 SHOTS)
SPEECH ON CASSETTE (TRANSCRIPT)
HAMILTON: "I know you don't like talking about politics and demonstrations, but how much does that worry you?"
CLAASEN: "Well of course, you know, it's a reality and you have to take this into consideration, and you have to think about it, and that's what I do."
HAMILTON: "There's a feeling that if there are major demonstrations that this will make the team more united. Do you think that's a possibility?"
CLAASEN: "Well, there is an element of truth in it, but I think I must admit that there's also a negative element attached to the matter."
HAMILTON: "From what I can gather you're going there to play rugby and to make friends."
CLAASEN:"Quite right. And that's the only reason we go to New Zealand, to play rugby and make friends."
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Springbok team is touring New Zealand at the invitation of the New Zealand Rugby Union. The New Zealand government opposes the tour, and has signed the Gleneagles Agreement, but refuses to stop it despite protests from its partners in the Commonwealth.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: For the South African Springbok Rugby team the waiting is over. They are on their way to New Zealand for what has already become one of the most controversial overseas tours ever to be made by a South African sports team. The Springbok left Cape Town on Wednesday (15 July) flying a circuitous route via the United States bound for Auckland, where they are due to arrive on Sunday (19 July). The team was unable to fly directly because both Australia and Fiji refused transit rights.
SYNOPSIS: As the Springboks held a final practice in Cape Town, anti-tour protesters in New Zealand were preparing a demonstration to greet the team on their arrival. One of the organisers said protesters wanted to show the Springbok they were not wanted, and they intended to give them "a hard time" throughout the tour.
They oppose the tour because of the South African government's racial segregation policies. They see the inclusion of coloured player Errol Tobias in the team, as an empty, token gesture and not a sincere move towards integration.
Such is the isolation now facing South Africa because of Apartheid, that for many players this will be their first overseas trip. Visnews reporter Kevin Hamilton asked tour manager Johan Claasen for his views.
His hopes may be overly optimistic in view of the continuing controversy over the tour. Pamphlets on how to make petrol bombs have been distributed in one New Zealand city, and other pamphlets suggested methods to sabotage pitches to be used during the tour. Workers are also threatening to boycott hotels where the touring South Africans have been booked to stay.