Jake White had to sak his kop in skaamte this past weekend after the Loftus Versfeld faithful booed Owen Farrell at every corner in their Champions Cup clash.
Farrell recently announced that he is struggling with his mental health and won’t be taking part in next year’s Six Nations because of it.
And White was then quoted as saying after the match: “I must start by saying I’m apologising for all the booing of Owen Farrell…
“I’m really disappointed because I wanted people to enjoy the fact that you get to see him play at Loftus.”
It was in response to another “event” at Loftus two weeks ago that some lere also have a bitter taste in their mouths for South Africans.
“Honouring” Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus at a clash between the Bulls and the Sharks, a video clip of them playing Zombie and then cutting the sound for the crowd to sing “Rassie, Rassie, Rassie” instead of “Zombie” drove some Iere mal on social media.
Yes, the chant became popular during the World Cup where even the Springbok team sang it to their mentor, but I reckon the Iere got dik after hearing South Africa truly claiming the number at Loftus – even after the World Cup.
The song, sung by Irish band The Cranberries, is basically like a national anthem for the Iere and they’re not about to “give it” to Rassie.
Some Irish fans writing on X said they were “disgusted” by South Africans disrespecting the song and that they had expected more from a country who has also had a troubled past, and how South Africans should do research about the song before butchering it.
After some digging, I kind of understand where they are coming from.
According to Wikipedia: “Zombie is a protest song... about The Troubles in Northern Ireland…”
The Troubles conflict between the Irish and the UK ran from the 1960s to 1998.
Singer Dolores O’Riordan is quoted describing writing the song on a tour to the UK as follows: “There were a lot of bombs going off in London and I remember this one time a child was killed when a bomb was put in a rubbish bin – that’s why there’s that line in the song, ‘A child is slowly taken’.
“We were on a tour bus and I was near the location where it happened, so it really struck me hard... So I suppose that’s why I was saying, ‘It’s not me’ – that even though I’m Irish it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it. Because being Irish, it was quite hard, especially in the UK...”
The Irish are playing the Boks at Loftus on July 6 next year and I really hope those attending have some understanding of what this song means to them.
There is a human element to everything we do, feelings are real and as sports fans we need to respect those boundaries. In the words of Ron Burgundy: “Stay classy…”