In 1982 the Irish men's rugby team did something they hadn't done for over 30 years — beat England, Scotland and Wales to win the famed Triple Crown.

It was an astonishing turnaround for a team that had been forced to sneak out of the country just a few months earlier.

Ireland’s rugby team had found itself at the centre of a major storm after the IRFU accepted an invitation to travel to apartheid South Africa to play the Springboks in the summer of 1981.

At the time South Africa was shunned by the international sporting community for the policy of apartheid — a system of racial segregation and white supremacy.

The decision to tour South Africa split the Irish rugby team and split the nation and had far-reaching consequences. Players lost their jobs, Irish athletes were boycotted in other events and the country’s reputation took a battering on the international stage.

So how did the Irish rugby team go from being a team the national broadcaster refused to cover; a team the national airline wouldn’t carry; to a team of national heroes in the space of a few months?

Contributors include Tony Ward, Gerry McLoughlin, Hugo MacNeill, John Robbie, Dion O'Cuinneagáin and Errol Tobias.

Narrated by David Coughlan

Produced by David Coughlan & Donal O'Herlihy

First broadcast RTÉ Radio 1 - Sunday 11th of July, 2021 at 6PM

Repeated RTÉ Radio 1 - Tuesday 13th of July, 2021 at 10PM

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries