Rugby

Springboks’ Rassie Erasmus greeted at airport by Irish fans’ beloved Zombie chant

Several rugby fans have taken to the Cranberries’ popular song “Zombie” during the World Cup in France.

As the world champions returned from France, hundreds of Springbok supporters chanted Rassie Erasmus’s name in honor of the South African who masterminded the team’s World Cup victory.

Boks supporters have used a song that was the theme music for Ireland’s World Cup campaign to make it even more special for Erasmus. The song is called “Zombie” by the Cranberries, and it features Erasmus’ name being sung.

After Andy Farrell’s team overcame South Africa in their group match in Paris, hundreds of Irish supporters took to singing the 1994 song, Zombie.

As the competition progressed, supporters of other countries adopted the cry, incorporating references to All Black talisman Ardie Savea and Erasmus into the lyrics, especially when Ireland was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Erasmus stated earlier this month, tweeting a video of Springbok supporters singing his name: “I’ve always enjoyed the song Zombie by the Cranberries, and the Irish fans really adopted it at the RWC making it their own. It was both amazing and scary. They got a really good try from our personnel. Lekka.”

Additionally, director of rugby Erasmus heard one more chant of his name at the airport as the Springboks made their way back to Johannesburg after successfully defending their title.

Some questioned the song’s use, and its usage in France wasn’t without controversy. When Limerick won the All-Ireland Hurling Championship in 2018, just a few months after lead singer Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries passed away, it initially gained popularity among Irish sports enthusiasts.

The song was then appropriated by Munster, the rugby directorate Erasmus had previously worked for, because of the Cranberries connection to the city.

Because O’Riordan wrote it in response to an IRA bombing in Warrington that resulted in the deaths of two young boys, ages three and twelve, there have been some concerns expressed. Some argue that the song’s meaning and lyrics ignore nationalists’ experiences during the Troubles.

According to The Mirror, O’Riordan expressed her sadness about “the innocent children being pulled into that kind of thing” following the release of the song. According to her, the line “it’s not me” implies that despite being Irish, she had nothing to do with it. She continued: “Because being Irish, it was quite hard, especially in the UK when there was so much tension.”

O’Riordan stated that “innocent people” being injured, not “whether it’s Protestant or Catholic,” is what “provoked” her to create the song in the interview with Vox magazine that was conducted more than three decades ago.

“It had nothing to do with me writing a song about it because I’m Irish,” she continued. I never in a million years imagined that I would write something like this. I used to fear that I would run into problems.”

In response to the controversy, Ireland rugby legend Shane Byrne stated during the competition that “sometimes a good tune is just a good tune.”

“Sometimes, it’s just a good tune and everyone there is happy,” he stated during an appearance on Virgin Media’s “Up Front with Katie Hannon.” Yes, it has a deeper significance. Although it was initially intended to be a protest song, a good tune may still be a good melody.”

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