The guts, glory and gamesmanship of Chasing the Sun 2

By Stephen Aspeling13 May 2024

The guts, glory and gamesmanship of Chasing the Sun 2

Chasing the Sun 2 follows on from Chasing the Sun, a riveting docuseries about the Springboks as they prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, and the dream campaign that followed. Both taking place over 5 episodes, they centre on the team dynamics, bone-crunching games and major turning points on the road to the final, with the sequel’s focus on the 2023 Rugby World Cup.  

Filled with on-the-field and behind-the-scenes drama, viewers get an all-access pass to the back stories, raw emotion and euphoria of what it must have been like from the locker room to the final whistle. Daring to capture what could be a back-to-back win for the defending champions, the Chasing the Sun 2 film crew couldn’t have asked for a more compelling or nail-biting story to immerse South Africans into the gees of a competitive international rugby tournament on foreign soil.   

Chasing the Sun 2 on Showmax

Chasing the Sun focused on the inspiration behind the captaincy of Siya Kolisi and wily coach Rassie Erasmus with input from commentators, journalists, managers, pundits and players. Kolisi has remained a steadfast leader turned superhero in the public eye while Erasmus has kept his cards close as an unconventional tactician. Both international sports icons have been lauded with praise after the Springboks brought home the Webb Ellis trophy after clinching an important win for South Africa. Chasing the Sun is a testament to the dedication, diligence and teamwork of a sport that’s become so much more than just rugby for South Africans.  

Tapping into the triumph of the human spirit, playing out of your league and doing the unthinkable against the odds, Chasing the Sun’s glory story has spawned two standalone documentaries in Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story and Rassie: The Official Film. Going into greater biographical detail about the two towering heroes of the Rugby World Cup 2019, it appeared that the fairy tale was over. The dream finish echoed the camaraderie and unification of Francois Pienaar and Nelson Mandela at the 1995 World Cup final, making it seem almost greedy for the Springboks to think they could do it all over again. 

BORDEAUX, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 17: Makazole Mapimpi of South Africa runs with the ball during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Romania at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 17, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Chasing the Sun 2 delves into player back stories as the focal point shifts from each of their crucial games to team politics and major setbacks. This docuseries sequel dives headlong into the gruelling campaign without the customary build-up of Chasing the Sun, content to mine the bubbling reserve of excitement and tension for a spirited story that couldn’t have been scripted better. A broader and slicker sports docuseries than its predecessor, it’s as pulsating as it is up close and personal. 

Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took a squad of players that could have literally fielded two world class 15-man Springbok sides. Having such tremendous player depth and versatility ensured they’d always have options on the day and this tactic allowed him to limit overworking his team in getting to the all-important quarter finals. The slogan Stronger Together really turned up in every aspect of their and our journey as South African supporters. 

Chasing The Sun 2 on Showmax
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 23: Jacques Nienaber head coach of South Africa looks on during the warming up during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Ireland at Stade de France on September 23, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

An absolute boon, Erasmus wielded this strength and summoned a great deal of media attention through his unorthodox decisions. Having the most dominant forward pack on the planet led to the rise of the Bomb Squad, which was taken to the next level with a 7:1 split of forwards to backs on the bench. Irking rugby authorities with his pioneering and rule-bending spirit, Rassie’s gambles tend to pay off, even if some force World Rugby to redraft the rulebook – like the baffling and rarely used option to take a scrum off a mark.    

Watch the trailer for Chasing The Sun 2

Episode 1 wrestles with the Springboks landing one of the toughest World Cup pools in history. Taking pressure from Day 1, their tough encounter with Scotland finds the Springboks power home thanks to their physical dominance and the brilliance of Manie Libbok’s boot. While many of these big moments have played in the media spotlight over several weeks, there’s something magical about watching them unfurl so vividly as part of the Springbok campaign in Chasing the Sun 2.  

Episode 2 grapples with the unexpected injury to Malcolm Marx, whose surprise replacement Handre Pollard brings his nerves of steel to South Africa’s rescue, a strong contender throughout the tournament. An example of Rassie’s altruistic spirit, inspired gamesmanship and cavalier leadership style, he commands such respect that the troops follow him into battle for the greater good of the team and South Africa.  

Without Marx, it was hooker Bongi Mbonambi and utility forward Deon Fourie who had to step up their game. Bongi adopts a captaincy role in Siya’s absence, becoming a kingpin and target for other teams wanting to exploit the green-and-gold team’s apparent weakness. Taking a knock against Ireland in the pool stage after a high intensity performance, the Springboks go back to the drawing board as their hopes of reaching the quarterfinals are further complicated. 

Chasing the Sun 2 on Showmax

Episode 3 documents Siya’s recovery and Makazole Mapimpi’s injury against Tonga in the buildup to their do-or-die game against France. From the host nation’s rugby fever sweeping the nation to the fear of sports espionage, tension mounts as the big game day arrives against one of the tournament favourites with the return of Antoine Dupont. From Eben Etzebeth’s “hand of god” moment to Cheslin Kolbe’s one-in-a-million place kick charge down, the docuseries stirs up the passion of a team playing for their country as patriotic spectators live through every moment. 

Episode 4 finds the Springboks recovering from their emphatic 1-point win over a gutted France as the mental and physical duress of a hard-fought campaign weighs in. Covering the importance of scrums with a band of brothers under Daan Human’s supervision, Chasing the Sun 2 finds the Springboks preparing to lay siege to a bedraggled England team whose easy road to the semi-finals was built on Owen Farrell’s boot. A grudge match encounter after the Rugby World Cup final in Japan, England’s strategy to frustrate South Africa with their own tactics almost pays off in slippery conditions as the disheartening tune of Swing Low echoes through the stands. 

Chasing the Sun 2 on Showmax
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 28: Mbongeni Mbonambi of South Africa celebrates with teammate Trevor Nyakane after defeating New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at Stade de France on October 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The guts, glory and spirit of Chasing the Sun 2 reaches fever pitch in Episode 5 as the Springboks get into the right headspace in the days before the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand. Having beaten them by a record score in the weeks prior to the tournament, the All Blacks have regained confidence over the duration of the competition, dashing Ireland’s hopes in style. What ensues is a scintillating stand-off between two of rugby’s greatest and proudest nations in a bid to be the first country to win the Rugby World Cup four times. Each there to prove a point, the night is filled with big calls as both captains are carded, the All Blacks are reduced to 14 players and the game comes down to the bounce of the ball.  

Chasing The Sun 2 on Showmax

Chasing the Sun 2 summons up the pulsating action and raw emotion that makes rugby so entertaining and spectacular. Taking a lightning-strikes-twice journey through the biggest rugby competition with the defending champions would have been fascinating even if they’d crashed out in the quarter finals but becomes so much more epic, enthralling and nail-biting as we witness the seemingly impossible play out yet again.  

Just when the euphoria of their unbelievable win starts to sink in over the last 15 minutes, the docuseries transforms into something so powerful it should be compulsory viewing for all South Africans. It’s this heart-pumping spirit that takes Chasing the Sun 2 to the next level, compelled by epic storytelling, heart-on-the-sleeve commentary, vivid game day visuals and a driving soundtrack. An impactful series about great courage, determination and playing for something so much bigger than yourself… the documentary transcends to a heartfelt crescendo as the players try to explain what this win truly means to them and their country.