Cape Town – They share top spot with the All Blacks already anyway,
but now the Nick Mallett-era Springboks look increasingly likely to lose their
world record for most Test top-tier victories (17) on the trot.
The mighty, current New Zealanders are just four further wins
away from setting a fresh benchmark all of their own, as they have stretched
their own sequence to 14 triumphs after the 57-22 outcome against Argentina
It will probably be little comfort for South Africans at
present that the embattled Boks do, at least, have two opportunities of their
own to foul up the All Black plans – Saturday’s clash in Christchurch and then
the home meeting with them at Kings Park on October 8.
The latter occasion seems a more realistic chance to fulfil
that objective, as the Boks ought to be deemed in with a puncher’s chance on
home soil, even if they are still in the midst of widespread angst going into
Before that Durban encounter, the All Blacks must also
safely negotiate their return fixture against the Pumas in Buenos Aires.
But if all goes to plan for them – and they must be branded
favourites for both Bok matches and the one in South America – then the
dead-rubber Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park, Auckland, on
October 22 will be the one where a win ensures they move to an historic 18
victories in succession.
The Springboks of 1997-1998 still stand at the top of the
major-nation pile, although their 17 wins in a row is a feat shared with two
previous All Black sides (1965-1969 and 2013-2014).
Sixteen of those Bok wins – including some really thumping
ones -- were achieved under Mallett’s guiding hand as coach, the lone exception
being the first, which was Carel du Plessis’s last game in the post when his
otherwise rocky reign ended with a 39-point thrashing of the Wallabies.
But newly-appointed Sharks CEO Gary Teichmann was captain on
each of the 17 occasions.
Here is a reminder, as an excuse for a pick-me-up for glum
Bok supporters, of their now endangered golden, record run then:
August 1997: SA 61 Australia 22 (Pretoria)
November 1997: SA 62 Italy 31 (Bologna)
November 1997: SA 36 France 32 (Lyon)
November 1997: SA 52 France 10 (Paris)
November 1997: SA 29 England 11 (London)
December 1997: SA 68 Scotland 10 (Edinburgh)
June 1998: SA 37 Ireland 13 (Bloemfontein)
June 1998: SA 33 Ireland 0 (Pretoria)
June 1998: SA 96 Wales 13 (Pretoria)
July 1998: SA 18 England 0 (Cape Town)
July 1998: SA 14 Australia 13 (Perth)
July 1998: SA 13 NZ 3 (Wellington)
August 1998: SA 24 NZ 23 (Durban)
August 1998: SA 29 Australia 15 (Johannesburg)
November 1998: SA 28 Wales 20 (Cardiff)
November 1998: SA 35 Scotland 10 (Edinburgh)
November 1998: SA 27 Ireland 13 (Dublin)
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