Springbok Boy Louw said in 1949: “When South Africa plays New Zealand, consider your country at war.” On Saturday two countries go to war with a clean slate and looking to break the hopes of one another. This after all is a match up between the Springboks and the All Blacks and it is a Rugby World Cup final. The Springboks are not favoured by the bookies at all, with many writing them off completely and few giving us a real chance of ruining Richie McCaw’s swansong. But the Springboks have beaten New Zealand before and in order to get you pumped we pick five of the best of these victories. You all know which will be number one!
5 – South Africa 27-25 New Zealand – 4 October 2014 – Rugby Championship
The Pat Lambie test match will be fondly remembered for his kick, but also for the finest try of the year when Francois Hougaard finished off a sublime team move. The Springboks had brought the All Blacks back to the end of an incredible winning run that saw them complete the whole of 2013 undefeated. I was fortunate enough to be at the game and experience the emotion and you can read all about it here. This also looked like the perfect kick-start to the looming Rugby World Cup.
In what was arguably one of the greatest comebacks in Test history, the Springboks overturned a 23-5 deficit with 15 minutes to go, as they set course for their first ever Tri-Nations triumph. Tries from Joost van der Westhuizen and replacement Bobby Skinstad got the Springboks right back into the contest, before James Dalton rumbled over on the back of a driving maul during injury time to send the Kings Park faithful into a state of delirium and this 13-year-old attempting summersaults unsuccessfully in my parents lounge!
3 – New Zealand 28-30 South Africa – 12 July 2008 – Tri-Nations
The Springboks entered this Test without a win in Dunedin for 87 years and on the back of a 19-8 loss in Wellington just a week prior. The torrid run looked set to continue as they found themselves trailing 28-23 with captain Victor Matfield in the sin bin and just over seven minutes remaining on the clock. Enter Ricky Januarie, the oft-maligned Stormers and Springbok scrumhalf. Sniping around the edge of a ruck near the All Blacks 10m line, Januarie broke free before chipping over Leon Macdonald, regathering and going over for a magnificent solo effort. Frans Steyn added the extras as the Boks found pleasure at the ‘House of Pain’.
Although the heart-break was real from the unbelievable Stephen Larkham fluke drop kick, the Springboks still had pride and the best Rugby World Cup record to play for. The All Blacks were shattered too, but the teams produced a hard battle of tactical genius before the, now Supersport Analyst, Breyton Paulse scored the most soccer like try as he ran the distance of the stadium. It was a game that no one ever loves to play, but it was one of the best and it was another Rugby World Cup victory over the All Blacks.
1 – South Africa 15-12 New Zealand – 24 June 1995 – Rugby World Cup Final
As far as South Africa’s history, let alone sporting history, as a country goes, this is up there with the most iconic moments. The number six jersey on Nelson Mandela, the aeroplane flying over the stadium, the Afrikaans fans cheering for Nelson, the Joel Stransky drop kick, the flattening of Jonah Lomu by Joost, Chester and James. I was ten years old and I can remember the game and the day clearer than I remember breakfast this morning. The song was the World in Union, the emotion was the country in union. The finest ever Springboks victory over the All Blacks for sure!