My immediate response is that this has to be an interim solution and not a long-term one, because it doesn't address the real problem, the issue of the negative connotations of the Springbok emblem. How do you rationalise introducing the protea as a way of fixing this mess?
Where is the logic?
Let me speculate that this is an interim solution (as I can't see it to be any other way). In a classical branding scenario, brand change needs to take into consideration how we transfer the positive equity from one brand to another. In transition stages (take, for example, when HSBC Bank took over Midland bank), it renamed itself HSBC Midland for a couple of months (just so consumers could understand the merger) and then reverted back to HSBC, with the knowledge that consumers would understand the joining of these two companies. So my question here, is the same being done with the springbok and protea?
It's not an impossible situation
Some fanatics may feel nauseous at the thought of carrying only the protea as an emblem, but this may not need to translate into the naming of the team. Take, for example, the English national side- its emblem is a rose, but it is definitely not referred to as the ‘roses'. The same applies to the All Blacks, a team synonymous with macho image and the ever-intimidating (well, it's meant to be anyway) Hakka. Its emblem is a fern! So, a solution where the protea is the symbol and the name is still the Boks- is not such a farfetched idea.
Why a diluted approach is a weak one?
Icons represent a set of values that are widely accepted by the intended audience. It is recognisable and has an emotive connotation. My question here is how do you merge these two very different icons into one belief?
In my opinion, the springbok emblem relates directly to rugby; it has a heritage. The protea, being the national flower (and far too closely associated with cricket for my liking), has a very different value set.
Either you need to look at a merging of the two logos, where the springbok somehow sits within the protea design, or a scenario where the team has a different name to the emblem that is worn on the jersey. What I can say with certainty is that, in the long run, only one logo that represents all the values that the team stands for will work.
Whatever the powers that be may be thinking, the blatant problem here is that you can't fix negative connotations by merely adding another emblem! I can't help myself; I just have to ask, “Mr Watson, is it easier for you to now to only vomit on one side of the jersey?”