The Springbok Handbook

by Eddie Grieb and Stuart Farmer (Jonathan Ball) ISBN: 978-1-868424481

The publishing of this book coincides with the 2011 World Cup. The Springbok Handbook has data about South Africa’s participation in the Rugby World Cup since the infamous 1995 win. Grieb and Farmer are statisticians with impressive CVs. They are the guys who provide the numbers that make games interesting.
Statistics are important in the professional game. It provides the big guys to make selection decisions based on these facts. Statistics can be a little boring for the man in the street but for the sports and rugby enthusiast it is manna from heaven. Winning scores, top try scorers, teams who have played in the finals of the past 6 word cups (South Africa was only involved from the 1995 world cup) are all interesting information.
Its emphasis is on South Africa. Timing is always important when publishing and it would seem applicable to produce a handbook but due to this is excludes stats from the 2011 world cup. It would have been interesting to see the final stats of the Boks who are retiring at the end of this world cup like Matfield, Smit, Du Preez and company.
I would also recommend an index table for easy reference. Joost vd Westhuisen, Schalk Burger, John Smit are some of the names that are found in many of the tables of top achievers. It would have been interesting to index these players.
Another word of warning, this book will be difficult to read for short sighed people. The font is really small and uncomfortable to read.
Ulrike Hill

Posted on: 4th December 2011