SA veteran concerned for rugby's future
January 4, 2004

Louis Babrow, is concerned that rugby in South Africa is fast becoming an exclusively Afrikaans sport.

The third oldest living Springbok who is 88 played five Tests for South Africa until his career was cut short by the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939.

Babrow says players from traditional English rugby-playing schools are giving up the game for other sports.

Speaking to The Cape Argus he said,

"I blame professionalism for that. Some players are making good money out of rugby, but most English-speaking players in South Africa do not want to play rugby once they leave school as they do not find the game attractive anymore."

"Club rugby has all but been destroyed in recent years and the amateur ethos that made the game such a joy for players in the past has gone," said Babrow.

'Club rugby has all but been destroyed'

Babrow is saddened that rugby in South Africa is losing its bilingual appeal.

"When I played we had a few (Nazi sympathising) Greyshirts in the Bok side, but I never experienced any anti-semitism or animosity whatsoever from any of my teammates," said Babrow, who is Jewish.

"Rugby in South Africa has always had its prejudices and it could take another 20 years until those issues are sorted out in the game. But if you look at the game in the country now, for the first time ever there is not one Jewish player in the Currie Cup."

"It used to be a good luck superstition for the Boks to have at least one Jewish player and a policeman in the side. Now there are neither," said Babrow.

"Today's youngsters should go and play overseas early in their careers. Then they should return to South Africa at age 27 to make their bid for the Springbok side and get an education," said Babrow.

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