From War to Tour – 1906 and the first Springboks, supported by Investec
This special exhibition at the Museum of Rugby told of how South Africa went from being a nation at war to a world rugby power within just five years.
The visit of the very first South African touring side to the British Isles occurred in 1906, just four years after the end of the Boer War.
Our exhibition showed how rugby football managed to unite a nation that had been tearing itself apart. Certain Springbok players had been fighting on opposing sides in the conflict and one had even been held in a British prisoner of war camp.
"South Africa is disunited about every subject under the sun, but in hearty agreement about the Springboks" (Pretoria News, 1906).
The first Springbok tour was the foundation stone of South Africa's proud rugby tradition, providing them with a nickname, emblem and expectation of success. The exhibition looked at the enormous effect that they had, both back at home and here in the British Isles.
From War to Tour' was on display until April 1, 2007 and was the definitive exhibition of the subject, featuring items of rarely seen memorabilia (including the famous 'Carolin Papers'), extraordinary stories and interactive presentations.