Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Chasing the Sun 2: When an emotional Nienaber told Boks to write their own story

In the final episode of the rugby documentary fans get a look at how things unfolded in the Bok camp in the week leading up to the 2023 final.

South African rugby fans were back on the edges of their seats on Sunday night when the final episode of the rugby documentary Chasing the Sun 2 aired on SuperSport and M-Net.

The five-part doccie tells the story of the Boks’ journey at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which they won to become the first team to bag four titles. It was also the Boks’ second triumph in a row after also winning in Japan in 2019.

‘Bok movie’

“They can script anything they want, (but) at the end of the day we decide what the movie will look like.”

It is this sentence by coach Jacques Nienaber to his Springbok players ahead of the World Cup final in Paris against the All Blacks that got South African rugby fans all teared up on Sunday night.

In the episode South Africans get a look in behind the scenes in the days leading up to the final against the Boks’ biggest rivals, the All Blacks, in Saint-Denis, which the South Africans would win 12-11, following a huge defensive effort by the Boks.

Among the topics in the episode are how the Boks and media dealt with the alleged racial slur uttered by Bongi Mbonambi towards Tom Curry in the semi-final win against England, with captain Siya Kolisi saying “The English media are so f@%*ed up”, and how the Boks’ management decided on the controversial 7-1 bench split and called Cheslin Kolbe into a meeting to ask him if he was okay to play scrumhalf in an emergency because there was going to be only one backs replacement on the bench.

Also, how veteran Deon Fourie, who’s played all his rugby at flank in the last few years, played almost the entire final at hooker after Bongi Mbonambi had been injured in the third minute of the final and couldn’t continue.

In a meeting with the players, Nienaber, who left the team after the World Cup to help coach Leinster in Ireland, adds: “This was not supposed to be your story, but in your own personal life you said ‘I’ll show you, I’ll come out on the other side’ … as a group you’ve decided we will not be scripted out of a movie, we’ll write our own story.”

Watch the clip here (bad language):

Chasing the Sun 2 is now available on Catch Up and Showmax.