Book Review: The Short Tours of the Sixties
This is a gem of a book. It is Hans Saestad’s 11th book on episodes in South African that do not have a written book of their own. The short tours of the Sixties now have a book all right, a book of high quality. It is a beautiful book with all the care that story and statistics demand.
Tours were long affairs before the Sixties. The first Springbok tour to the north lasted five months with over a month spent on travelling. The 1921 tour to Australasia took just short of six months, half on which was spent on sea voyages. The first short tour lasted about a fortnight – fly in, play Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday and fly out.
The tours are mostly to South Africa; there are also two to Europe, one of which was a playing disaster.
For the Springboks the Sixties started well and carried on well till they got near the half-way mark when success fell on a trash-heap.
Each tour has its surprises as international teams would go off to play in Mossel Bay, Burgersdorp and Springs, not just in Durban, Johannesburg and Newlands.
Scotland were the first time come, and then came Ireland, Australia, who wore gold jerseys for the very first time, Wales and France.
Then South Africa went north on short tours, first the disastrous, no-wins tour to Ireland and Scotland in 1965 and then the rehabilitation tour to France in 1968, and the decade ended in the raucous disapproval of apartheid on a long tour of the Four Home Unions,a tour which is not a part of Saestad’s book.
The easy-to-read and understand details on each touring match are wonderful – preview and report, teams, referees and scorers, and interesting tidbits labelled notes. There are also pieces on some of the prominent players. And it is all set out so well.
Throughout the book there are wonderful illustrations, many of them used in a book for the first time. They include action shots, mugshots, lots of autographs, match balls, flags, cartoons – a wonderful variety of illustrations, many from Hymie Sibul’s great collection.
It is certainly a book worth having, even if you are only slightly interested in the wonderful history of South African rugby – or for that matter in the rugby of the Four Home Unions, France and Australia
It is a gem.
Title: The Short Tours of the Sixties
Author: Hans Saestad
Published by Hans Saestad
A4 size pages
Illustrated throughout in colours and black and white
How to Buy the Book
The book is available from Hans Saestad: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It sells for R310 plus SAPO postage R65 or Post Net R110.
For buyers outside South Africa a postage quote will be provided on request.