Rugby fan’s 18 months dream
HAVING unfettered access to the Springbok team is a dream for many fans.
One lucky fan got to live that dream for 18 months.
Mark Nancarrow, 24, from George, Western Cape, was selected as the MTN Bozza last year after a nationwide selection process by MTN, the official team sponsors of the Springboks.
Nancarrow was tasked with following the team around the world and be the exclusive social eyes and ears for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship last year until the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Nancarrow said he travelled to Argentina, New Zealand and Australia for the rugby championship, England, France, Scotland and Wales for the team’s November tour and finally to Japan for the World Cup.
“It’s been an incredible 18-month experience especially where the team has gone from losing a few games and no one really expecting us to get into the World Cup final and win it,” he said.
The George-based man had access to the team during pre-game activities, such as signing sessions and jersey give-aways, breakfast with coach Rassie Erasmus, team announcements, training sessions as well as exclusive locker room experiences.
He said the players were quite reserved initially, but warmed up to him later.
Nancarrow’s idol since childhood, Duane Vermeulen, became one of the players he formed friendships with and Schalk Brits, as well as the players closer to his age including Damian Willemse and Aphiwe Dyantyi.
On the historic day when South African became the three-time world champions, the die-hard Bok fan said he had never been so nervous in his life but he knew they had won after Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored the game-changing tries.
“We ran down to the field and I was already crying by the 60th minute but it was the best moment of my life,” he said.
He now sports a large Springboks tattoo on his right arm from a bet he made with the team.
Nancarrow’s time with the team has unfortunately come to an end however he has a journalism degree from Rhodes and intends to work in sports journalism in the future.
MTN’s Official Bozza Mark Nancarrow followed the Springboks around the world for 18 months.