South African viewers might hear the distinctive cry of ‘Boomfa!’ boom out when they’re watching their beloved Springboks compete in this year’s Rugby World Cup.
That’s because Queenstown-based rugby commentator and former All Black Justin Marshall — who’s made this catch-cry famous — has been selected as an analyst and panellist for South Africa’s SuperSport’s cup coverage in France this September/October.
Back in March, Marshall — a commentator for New Zealand’s Sky Sport since 2010 — was informed he wouldn’t be part of
its commentary team in France.
He says he was naturally disappointed, as commentating World Cups, which he’d done in 2011 and 2015 (Sky Sport didn’t have the rights in 2019), is the pinnacle of his profession.
‘‘Rugby World Cups are what you call the game for, and particularly when you’re in a foreign country, it really challenges you, and that’s what I love, it’s what gets you out of bed.
‘‘But decisions are made for various reasons which you don’t have any control of.
‘‘I kind of relate it to what it was like as a player when a coach tells you, ‘we’re going to start this guy and it’s your job to stay positive and be part of the team’.
‘‘I feel I’ve accepted it really professionally.
‘‘Because I love what I do and I love working for Sky, I’ve continued to do what I do for them, right through.’’
Marshall was subsequently approached by SuperSport, a broadcast partner of Sky’s, to join its star-studded team in France, as their only ‘foreigner’ alongside his great Aussie friend and former Wallaby rival, George Gregan.
He says when he approached Sky about the offer, ‘‘they were really understanding of the fact, ‘hey, we know you love your rugby, we know you’re a former All Black, and it’s a Rugby World Cup’, and they have given me consent and support to go.’’
Marshall will be covering all the Boks’ games, including a likely ‘‘spicy’’ quarter-final clash with the All Blacks, and he’ll also be a panellist for SuperSport’s Monday panel show, Ole, Ole.
He adds he’s really excited to be working with legends of the game like Schalk Burger, John Smit, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villers.
Ironically, in view of some speculation his relationship with Sky Sport might now be terminal, he says about the time of his World Cup deselection, his contract was extended to the end of 2025, till Sky’s current rugby contract runs out.