History is against the Springboks

12 September 2017 - 07:34 By KHANYISO TSHWAKU
Nick Mallett. File photo
Nick Mallett. File photo

Winning in New Zealand means going against the grain of history, which is what the Springboks have to do this weekend to keep their Rugby Championship chances alive.

The Boks have always been competitive against New Zealand but have only ever won three Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations matches against New Zealand.

Those wins came when the Boks were world champions. There was the 13-3 win under Nick Mallett and Gary Teichmann's astute stewardship at the now-defunct Athletic Park in Wellington in 1998.

Then there was the groundbreaking 30-28 win at the also-defunct Carisbrook in Dunedin 10 years later where Ricky Januarie conjured up an unforgettable moment of magic.

The 32-29 win in Hamilton the following year was routine by the high standards of the Springboks of that year.

Between that night in Hamilton and the British and Irish Lions' triumph in the second of three Tests in Wellington two months ago, the All Blacks have wasted every team in their path.

They have not lost to Australia at home since 2001, England since 2003 and France since 2009.

Wales, Ireland and Scotland don't know what it feels like to win in New Zealand.

It is the weight of history, the travelling and the general excellence of New Zealand rugby that have often got in the way of aspiring touring teams.

France are the only team in the last 25 years to have won a series in New Zealand (1994), while the might of the British and Irish Lions only has a drawn series (2017) to show for their efforts alongside two losses in 2005 and 1993.

It speaks volumes of the Boks' resurgence this year that the All Blacks are speaking of them with high regard.

However, to beat the All Blacks means every skill has to be mastered, along with a morsel of luck.