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Bok's journey from Metallica to Mongolian throat-singing

INTERVIEW: RG Snyman is not your typical Springbok lock – neither in the type of game he plays nor in the way he carries himself.


It should then not surprise you that he listened to American heavy metal band Metallica and has moved onto something a bit more outlandish – a Mongolian folk metal, throat-singing band called The Hu.

Rudolph Gerhardus Snyman, 28, is one of the key players on South Africa’s replacement bench for the start of their World Cup title defence, when they face off against Scotland in Marseille on Sunday.

Snyman, in what will be his 29th Test, is part of a six-two split in favour of the forwards on the replacements’ bench.

He was also one of the most entertaining of an array of players lined up for media interviews this week.

From his brutal honesty about concerns over the injuries he suffered in the last couple of years, to his curious taste in music.



The HU, a four-piece ensemble, is not a group many in the media had heard of before.

In fact, like myself, several members of the media headed straight for a search engine to find out more about ‘Gala’ and ‘Enkush’, who plays the morin khuur (horse fiddle), ‘Jaya’ on the tumur hhuur (Jew’s Harp) and tsuur (an end-blown flute, like a recorder), and ‘Temka’ on the tovshuur (a lute, held and strummed like a guitar).

Gala, Enkush, and Temka add throat singing.

“It’s not in everyone’s taste,” Snyman quipped, while being surrounded by a group of bemused faces staring back at him.


Their best-known song, Wolf Totem, talks about the kind of battles players like Snyman fight on the field in every match.

The lyrics read:
If the lions want war
We gon’ fight until the battle ends
If the tigers come running
We gon’ fight them to the bloody end
When the elephants come
They gon’ bow to my brethren
Lock ’em in a cage
Parade them to the lion’s den

I breathe fire like a dragon killing demons
Am I go hard? Yeah, we gonna seize the day
Hellfire, rain it down upon my people
If ya gonna bring the evil, we could bury it today
We’ve all been lost, we’ve all been called
Everyone rise to a brethren code
We got your back, we all been low
Let’s all rise to the brethren code

(Article continues below the RG Snyman interview …)

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There was also time for questions about Sunday’s game and Snyman’s stuttering career – which has now roared back into action.

He said he was privileged to be part of this World Cup campaign.

“It was a tough journey to be on, but through all of it I’ve learnt a lot,” he said, adding that he was driven by the hope to be back in the Green and Gold again.

He paid credit to the Irish province Munster, the United Rugby Championship title holders, for looking after him and nursing him back to full health.

“People can give up on you quite easily in this game.

“However, credit to them for getting me back and back in the Springboks squad.

“It’s special to be back.”

It was only until the Boks tackled Wales in Cardiff that Snyman played a full 80 minutes, his first full game for his country since the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool stages.

“It was my first 80 minutes since 2019 when I got injured,” Snyman said.

“For the Springboks, the last time I played 80 was against Canada at the previous World Cup, so it’s been a while. It was a special milestone for me to get through.”
How special the Springbok jersey is

Snyman added that his spell on the sidelines has brought an added appreciation for the Bok jersey.

“The big thing I’ve learnt is you’re always desperate to be part of the Springboks and to wear the jersey, but it’s only when it’s taken away from you that you realise how special it is,” he said.


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