EPISODE 4 REVIEW: For South Africa: the ballad of Ox, Ragar’s son and Bongi’s tears

rugby14 April 2024 20:20| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Bongi Mbonambi © Gallo Images

DISCLAIMER: This article refers to Episode 4 of Chasing the Sun 2 and contains spoilers from the episode. The episode is available on Catch-up while new episodes air at 8pm on Sundays on M-Net.

It was the moment that floored us.

At the end of episode four, an empty changeroom, and a sole figure. The most unemotional of characters, the man they likened to Mike Tyson.

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi sat alone in tears, crying. Raw, pure emotion flowing through the screen.

It was a moment to savour. It was a moment that would have brought us all to tears.

And a moment that summed up this Springbok team.

Raw emotion has never been far away, but it was unmasked, open and vulnerable. In what was supposed to be the most glorious moment, it was the most vulnerable.

It was a moment that reminded us all that this team is for South Africa, represents the best of all of us and, like all of us, is vulnerable to the outside.

And while it sets us up for the finale, the episode where Mbonambi was maligned by an accusation of a racial slur, it is no less exceptional for its vulnerability.

Bongi was about to become the pantomime villain to the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, and that makes his tears all the more poignant.


If Chasing the Sun 1 and 2 were exceptional insights to the inner sanctum of the team, then Episode 4 of the second series was the pinnacle.

Not only did it set up the finale, but it was a rollercoaster of emotions reviewing games that made us all age a decade in 160 minutes.

And it highlighted the importance of the scrum.

While World Rugby currently look for ways to try and depower the setpiece from next season for reasons only known to themselves, Episode 4 lifted the lid on the dark arts of the scrum, and the beauty that lies therein.

As the same Mbonambi told us. We’re good to go down to the gutters and live there, but we can go lower than that. Can they live at that level.

And the episode showed that the dark arts have a new hero. Not the obvious one in Ox Nche, but rather Daan Human, possibly the most unsung hero of the entire Springbok campaign.


The same man that once described to me the art of a scrum as “packing your lunchbox” was at it again, spouting words of wisdom that few outside the Bok supporters network would understand.

“I don’t believe in scrum machines because when in a game do you scrum against a machine?” - those famous Daan Human words that may become a bumper sticker one day, underlined the belief in the Boks up front in the setpiece and the way the Boks knew they had the upper hand.

From the crucial penalty against France, which was as emotional as it was telling, to the crucial turnaround against England when it mattered most.

This was, of course, the team that chases lost causes. And Ox Nche - the prop that coined the phrase “Salads don’t win scrums” was the biggest winner here.

Nche was honest in the episode - saying “I’m not going to kick goals, I’m not going to be the one who gives the last pass to the winger to score the try. I can just influence the game the way I can.”

And at Stade de France, the Ox roared in the scrums.

But he wasn’t alone. When it mattered, “Ragnar, Son of Snyman” got his chance. The awesome giant that is RG Snyman said to Faf de Klerk: “Give me the F****** ball” and then powered his way over the line.

It was left to the scrum to get the Boks over the line, and give Handre Pollard, the flyhalf with “ice in his veins” the opportunity to send the Boks to the final.

Episode 4 has so much more to unpack, so many more moments that matter and so many that won’t make it into this article.

But one deserves a mention. As much as Eben Etzebeth barked “Just do your F******* job” in the first series, Pieter-Steph’s monologue against England ranks just as high up there. In a moment when leaders were needed, PSDT stood up and it mattered.

As Chasing the Sun episodes go, this is a masterpiece, possibly the best in the series.

Emotional and forthright, honest and direct, it has no equal in sporting documentaries.

And even the most unheard of gems are worth their weight in gold.

Like when Frans Malherbe talks about Ox Nche’s 50 metre Currie Cup try and Jonah Lomu’s influence on rugby.

“I still dream of running outside into space”, Frans dreams on camera.

As do we all, Frans. As do we all.

May that moment happen before his career is over. And may Bongi’s tears remind us of the passion in the Green and Gold.

And why the scrum is such a special thing in rugby union.

Bring on the finale, we are waiting!