Field of Broken Dreams

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LINE OF RESISTANCE: Only two black players started the Springboks' game against Samoa

In one sense South Africa's springboks may fulfil their promise gloriously in this year's Rugby World Cup. At the Parc des Princes in Paris on Sept. 9, they trounced Samoa by the withering score of 59-7. Their star black player, Bryan Habana, scored four tries, fueling hopes that the team might triumph over England on Sept. 14 and ultimately make it to the final on Oct. 20.

Yet South African rugby has another promise to keep, and victory alone won't do it. The Springboks were once among the most powerful symbols of the nation's apartheid regime and...