EPISODE 5 REVIEW: Under fire, the Boks write their own dramatic final script

rugby22 April 2024 09:00| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Siya Kolisi © Gallo Images

DISCLAIMER: This review refers to episode 5 of Chasing the Sun 2 and contains spoilers. While the series has aired, it remains available on Catch Up to binge watch at your leisure.

“The English media are so F %$#ed up”

The words of anger from one of the most composed figures in Springbok rugby - Siya Kolisi - dropped like a bombshell in the opening moments of Chasing the Sun 2’s finale.

Because where episode four ended - with Bongi Mbonambi alone in the changeroom - weeping openly after the pressure win over England in the semifinal, the contrast couldn’t be more apparent.

England’s media machine went to war over an allegation that Mbonambi used a racial slur on Tom Curry.

But in so many ways it backfired.

Because South Africa is not a normal nation. The rules of engagement don’t apply like they do in the colonial powers. Instead of disrupting the Boks, it inspired anger.

And there’s nothing more that South African rugby teams enjoy than having their backs against the wall.

Mbonambi, the only fit hooker in the squad, was never going to martyr himself for the cause.

And as Rassie Erasmus so succinctly put it: “I trust Bongi with my life. If he says don’t worry, I didn’t say it, I don’t worry.”

While the media circus raged around the heads of the Boks, it didn’t take away from their focus. But it did provide a distraction that would be an irritation, a distraction that would swirl while the All Blacks prepared silently for the final.


In many ways this was always going to happen. A team that had fought against the odds, who were written off in 2019, and achieved the impossible.

A team that was never supposed to be able to win a British and Irish Lions series after 26 members had contracted Covid in the lead up, and lost the first test, only to show resolve and steel to fight back.

And now a World Cup which so heavily favoured the French and Irish sides, that was seen as their time to shine, had been stolen by the Springboks who had refused to lie down and die.

This was seen as another moment when a side who lost, tried to detract from the game and find something less wholesome to focus on.

Still, South Africans are nothing if not resilient. Taking the challenges thrown at us on a daily basis, we always seem to find a way to shine despite the obstacles.

As commentator Matt Pearce said - this team creates miracles in a country that thirst for them.

And what the world had not realised was that this team had fought hard to be at this point. Many of them rising above their own circumstances. Rising above the ceilings their lives had created for them.


This was never going to be a Bok team that would lay down and die.

As Jacques Nienaber put it during the episode: “They can script anything they want but we decide what the movie will look like. And I think that breaks them. This group decided we will not be scripted out of the movie because you decided that.

“We can’t let them script our movie boys. F@#$ that, we will write our own story.”

Episode 5 then rollercoasters through the emotional journey of the World Cup final.

Of drama and near heartbreak.

It reminded us how All Black Shannon Frizzell should have been red-carded for his sickening tackle that injured Mbonambi. It may not have been seen that way by officials and the All Blacks will deny it, but watching it again you will find it hard to find a South African fan who doesn’t believe it was deliberate.

The irony of Mbonambi fighting the tears, fighting the press onslaught in the week of the final to only have a three-minute cameo.

Another setback. Another obstacle.


There was drama that will be debated for years to come. Sam Cane’s red card. Siya Kolisi’s yellow. The officials got it right. New Zealand will never agree.

It was the tension as the seven-one bench almost backfired with Cheslin Kolbe fighting cramp and injury, and then the yellow card that saw him miss the last eight minutes.

It was excruciating, making us all age a decade in a matter of minutes.

And then the sweet emotional release. The final whistle. The celebrations. Hearing what it meant to the players. Reminding ourselves what a World Cup win meant against the odds.

And the final message from Rassie on positivity.

“Stop talking Sh*t about our country.”

A lesson we can all learn in a story that contains so much wisdom about ourselves.