Reconstructing performance narratives of three historically significant Springbok women rugby players between 2002 and 2016

Louw, Maria Magretha Wilhelmina (2022-04)

Thesis (M Sport Sc)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Early ball games can be viewed as a point of reference in understanding the history of rugby. From the Greeks that played Episkyros, a ball game, where the ball was caught with their hands, to the Romans playing a ball game named Harpastum during the fifth century BCE, to the modern-day professional game of rugby, the game has always been brutal and not for the faint- hearted. Consequently, the game developed a broadly defined masculine character. Not surprisingly, the recording and writing of women’s rugby history progressed in the shadow of a male dominant narrative. Hence, the current study aimed to reconstruct performance narratives of three historically significant Springbok women’s rugby players between 2002 and 2016. These players were selected according to the following criteria: they all played Springbok rugby between 2002 and 2016; they played either fifteens, sevens or both codes at international level; each won the player-of-the-year award and/or captained the Springbok team and they participated in at least one World Cup tournament. To be included in the study, the participants had to meet three of these five criteria. The first player, Ingrid Botha, was found to be significant for the study, because she represented South Africa at national level from 2003 to 2008. She captained the 2006 South African Women Rugby World Cup team in two games at that tournament, against England and Ireland. Botha was also awarded the ‘British Airways Women's Rugby Achiever of the Year’ in 2005. The next player I presented was Yolanda Meiring. Her rugby career spanned from 2002 to 2016. She was a South African international player in both the fifteens and sevens games between 2004 and 2013. Meiring played in four World Cups, two Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cups (2009 and 2013) and two fifteens Women’s Rugby World Cups in 2006 and 2010. She was recognised for her achievements by being awarded the Meiring Peyer Women’s Achiever of the Year in 2012. The third player was Lorinda Brown. She played rugby between 2000 and 2017, and as an international player between 2003 and 2016 in both the fifteens and sevens versions of the game. Playing in two fifteens Women’s Rugby World Cups in 2010 and 2014-, and two- Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cups in 2009 and 2013, she captained the Springboks for the first time during the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup against Australia, and the Springbok sevens team in 2014 against England. All three players played in one or more World Cup tournaments, won Springbok Player of the Year, two of the three played both fifteens and sevens rugby, two of the players captained the Springboks at least once.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Vroee balspele kan gesien word as ’n verwysingspunt om die geskiedenis van rugby te verstaan. Van die Grieke wat Episkyros gespeel het, ’n balspel waar die bal met die hande gevang is, tot die Romeine, wat ʼn spel genaamd Harpastum, tydens 5 VC gespeel het, tot en met die hedendaagse professionele spel van rugby, was die spel nog altyd brutaal en nie vir die fyngevoelige nie. Gevolglik het die spel ʼn bree gedifineerde manlike karakter aangeneem. Dit is dus te verstane dat die optekening en beskrywing van vroue-rugbygeskiedenis deurentyd gevorder het in die skaduwee van die dominante manlike narratief. Dus het die huidige studie dit ten doel gehad om die prestasies van drie histories betekenisvolle Springbokvrouerugbyspelers van 2002 tot 2016 te staaf en te rekonstruktureer. Die Springbokvroue-rugbyspelers was geselekteer volgens die volgende kriteria: hulle het vir die Springbokke tussen 2002 en 2016 gespeel, hulle het of in vyftiens, of sewes, of in albei weergawes op Springbokvlak gespeel; hulle het die speler-van-die-jaar-toekenning ontvang en/of was kaptein van die Springbokspan en het aan minstens een Wereldbekertoernooi deelgeneem. Minstens drie van die vyf kriteria moes aan voldoen word. Die eerste speler was Ingrid Botha. Sy het van 2003 tot 2008 in vyftiens op nasionale vlak gespeel, was ’n lid van die 2003 SA Presidentiele XV en was lid van die eerste Springbokvrouespan in 2004. Sy het aan die 2006 Vrouerugbywereldbeker deelgeneem en was kaptein tydens twee van die wedstryde. Botha het ook die British Airways Women's Rugby Achiever of the Year in 2005 ontvang. Yolanda Meiring het Springbokrugby in die vyftiens- en sewesspanne van 2004 tot 2013 gespeel, sy het in vier Wereldbekertoernooie gespeel: twee sewestoernooie in 2009 en 2013, en twee vyftienstoernooie in 2006 en 2010. Meiring het ook die Peyer Women’s Achiever of the Year in 2012 ingepalm. Die laaste narratief was die van Lorinda Brown. Sy het op nasionale vlak, van 2003 tot 2016 gespeel, vir beide die vyftiens- en sewesspanne. Sy het in twee vyftiens-Wereldbekers, in 2010 en 2014 gespeel, en in twee sewes-Wereldbekers in 2009 en 2013. Sy was kaptein van die Springbokke tydens die wedstryd teen Australie in die 2010-Wereldbekerwedstryd en was vir die eerste keer Springboksewes-kaptein in 2014 teen Engeland. Al drie spelers het in een of meer Wereldbekertoernooie gespeel, en het almal die Springbok-‘Speler van die Jaar’-toekenning gewen. Twee van die drie spelers het beide vyftiens- en sewes-rugby gespeel, twee van die drie spelers was minstens een keer kaptein van die Springbokke.

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