Twickenham – “When South Africa plays New Zealand, consider your country at war,” legendary Springbok prop Boy Louw once said.
has been that way since their first Test in 1921 and that is how it
will be when they meet for the 91st time in Saturday’s World Cup
semi-final at Twickenham.
The Springboks against the All Blacks is
one of the fiercest rivalries in rugby with street riots, Olympic
boycotts, heavyweight boxers, broken bones and the advent of mouthguards
all part of its history.
Louw spoke before the bitter 1949
series in South Africa which the Springboks swept 4-0 drawing complaints
from the All Blacks of biased refereeing.
Rumblings of discontent
continued for many series with the great Springbok centre of the 1960s,
John Gainsford, later telling New Zealand: “When you come to us, we
cheat you and beat you. And when we go to you, you cheat us and beat
But no amount of complaining in the days before neutral
referees could sway the All Blacks and Springboks from their passionate
desire to play each other.
It led to unrest in New Zealand in
1981 when anti-apartheid protestors, trying to shutdown the Springbok
tour, fought pitched battles with riot police.
A provincial match
against Waikato was cancelled when demonstrators broke through
barricades to invade the pitch. Protesters used an aircraft to rain
flour bombs on Eden Park during the fourth Test.
official Test between New Zealand and South Africa was played in Dunedin
in 1921 with the All Blacks triumphant 13-5. South Africa won the
second Test 9-5 and the third was drawn 0-0.
The first All Blacks tour to South Africa in 1928 also ended in a tied series, with the four-match campaign shared 2-2.
All Blacks won the next Test at home before the Springboks took control
claiming the next six Tests to clean up series in New Zealand in 1937
and at home in the 1949 when penalties by Okey Geffin made the
One of the most famous of all rugby tours came in
1956 with New Zealand desperate to end South Africa’s record of never
having lost a series in 60 years. The legend of Kevin Skinner was born.
All Blacks scrum was given a torrid time in the first two Tests leading
to a recall for the retired Skinner, who was also a heavyweight boxing
Skinner admitted to punching both Springbok props, Chris Koch and Jaap Bekker and the South African aggression subsided.
New Zealand went on to claim the series 3-1 and Skinner went back into retirement.
1970, when New Zealand refused to tour apartheid South Africa unless
they could select a fully representative team, Samoan Bryan Williams and
three Maori players including Buff Milner, an uncle of current All
Black Nehe Milner-Skudder, were granted “honorary white” status.
it was a tour of acrimony, notably the second Test when Springbok wing
Syd Nomis was felled by All Blacks full-back Fergie McCormick and lost
several teeth in an incident now credited with pioneering the use of
In the third Test, when Colin Meads played with a broken arm, McCormick was so roughed up he could not start the final match.
year later, several African nations boycotted the Montreal Olympics in
protest as the All Blacks continued to defy anti-apartheid protests and
toured South Africa in 1976.
When legal action prevented an All
Black tour in 1985, 28 of the 30 players New Zealand players originally
selected mounted a rebel tour of South Africa the following year.
The four internationals are still considered Tests in South Africa but are not recognised by New Zealand.
the time rugby turned professional after the 1995 World Cup, when South
Africa beat New Zealand in the final, the Springboks had won 21 of the
42 Tests played against the All Blacks with three drawn.
The tide has now turned in favour of the All Blacks who have won 34 of the 48 Tests since.
Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane
Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben
Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Victor
Matfield, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan
15 Ben Smith,
14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea,
10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw
(captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen
Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes 16 Keven Mealamu, 17
Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera
Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Sonny Bill Williams