Rugby Championship

5 most embarrassing moments in Bok history

2016-10-10 12:43
New Zealand's Codie Taylor is congratulated by team-mates after scoring against South Africa in Durban... (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Saturday’s 57-15 defeat to the All Blacks in Durban was nothing short of an embarrassment for Springbok rugby.

The 42-point margin of defeat was South Africa’s biggest against New Zealand in 95 years of rivalry and ranks alongside the biggest disappointments in the history of Springbok rugby.

There were a few poor results in the 1960s and many can still recall the 3-0 series loss to the British Lions in 1974, but, sadly, the five most embarrassing Springbok defeats all occurred in recent times.

Here they are, in ranking order (most embarrassing to least):

1. September 19, 2015: South Africa 32-34 Japan, Brighton

For me, this match at last year’s Rugby World Cup remains the worst result in the history of Springbok rugby.

The bookmakers had the Boks to win by 44 points beforehand, but the South Africans were outfoxed by a smarter team, who knew they had to move the ball around against their bigger, more fancied opponents.

Most of South Africa’s top provincial teams would beat Japan which makes the result the most embarrassing moment in Springbok rugby history.

2. November 23, 2002: England 53-3 South Africa, London

This game was part of a "dark period" in Springbok rugby, with Rudolf Straeuli as coach.

Lock Jannes Labuschagne was sent off in the 23rd minute for a late and dangerous tackle on English pivot Jonny Wilkinson.

It was a setback the Boks could never recover from as they suffered their heaviest ever defeat - 50 points.

Things got so bad that a frustrated Bok skipper Corne Krige, attempting a punch at a ruck, accidentally knocked out his own flyhalf, Andre Pretorius.

Krige in later years admitted that it was the one game where he completely lost his cool, knowing that nothing could be done in order to avoid defeat.

Krige said the game had taken two years off his career and he was also upset as he felt some of the Springbok players gave up.

“In a sense - and this might sound bizarre - I would rather do what I did than chuck the towel in, as some of the other Springbok players did,” he wrote in his autobiography.

3. October 8, 2016: South Africa 15-57 New Zealand

The All Blacks’ nine tries to nil romp saw them saw them equal the Test record of consecutive wins for major Test playing nations (17).

It’s a record they now share with two former All Black teams and the Springbok team of 1997/98.

With their next Test scheduled against the Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland on October 22, the record will surely be broken.

Eden Park is a ground the All Blacks haven’t lost at in 22 years and I can’t see anything but a New Zealand win.

It’s scary to think that had Beauden Barrett kicked better at posts on Saturday, the scoreline could have been near the 70-mark.

In the overall head-to-head stakes, the All Backs now boast a 55-35 win-loss record, with three draws.

Even more alarming from a Springbok perspective is that since rugby turned professional in 1996, the All Blacks have won 37 matches compared to a meagre 14 by South Africa.  

It’s hard to believe that that when Francois Pienaar’s charges won the 1995 Rugby World Cup final by beating the All Blacks 15-12, the Boks held a positive 21-18 win-loss record against the All Blacks!

4. July 19, 2003: South Africa 16-52 New Zealand, Pretoria

Less than a year after the debacle at Twickenham, Straeuli and Krige suffered more humiliation when the Boks were pummelled by their greatest rivals at Loftus Versfeld.

The final whistle marked one of the lowest points in South Africa rugby history as home fans were left to contemplate a record losing margin, with the All Blacks running in seven tries to the solitary score from Bok wing Ashwin Willemse.

That record was broken in Durban on Saturday.

5. July 15, 2006: Australia 49-0 South Africa, Brisbane

The rampant Wallabies ran in six tries to record their biggest win over the Boks.

After the result, Springbok coach Jake White was flown back to South Africa to explain himself to the country’s rugby bosses.

White was almost fired, but kept his job and went on to lead the team to World Cup glory in France the next year.


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