Cape Town – There can be no escaping it now for the Allister Coetzee regime … the Springboks will end the calendar year sporting their least productive record in a decade, even with successive season-ending triumphs.
It will require victories in both of the remaining end-of-year tour fixtures, against Italy this Saturday and then Wales, just for the 2016 Boks to be able to claw back to a 50 percent win record for their 12 completed Test matches.
The Springboks have served up a better percentage than that, and usually significantly so, in every calendar year from 2007 onward.
Their record this year has plummeted to a particularly rare 40 percent – sixth reverse in 10 Tests -- following the latest failure (37-21) at the hands of England at Twickenham.
On current form, the beleaguered Boks, clinging to fourth spot on the World Rugby ladder, should be capable of repelling 13th-ranked Italy in Florence – a side they have always beaten in 12 bilateral encounters thus far.
The Italians have just come off a 68-10 thrashing at the hands of the All Blacks, although some nervous Bok supporters may be wondering whether the Azzurri are reserving their best for a really fierce crack at the similarly vulnerable South Africans.
It is possible that Wales, not far below the Springboks in sixth, will be installed as slight favourites by some bookies in a fortnight when they tackle the Boks at the Millennium Stadium, a venue where they have beaten them twice before (1999 and 2014) despite the overall Bok supremacy in Test meetings of 28-2.
One victory in the two remaining tour matches would see the Boks end with an identical record to Jake White’s 2006 side, who won only five of 12 Test matches for a winning percentage of 41.66.
In White’s defence, he would dramatically double that figure in 2007, when the Boks’ 17 Tests saw then win 14 of them for a percentage of 82.35, including hoisting of the Webb Ellis Cup at the French-staged World Cup.
But with Coetzee now only able to get to a maximum win percentage of 50, assuming victories over Italy and Wales, here is a reminder of the figures for all nine prior years to this one:
2015 (Heyneke Meyer): P11 W6 L5 – 54.55%
2014 (Heyneke Meyer): P13 W9 L4 – 69.23%
2013 (Heyneke Meyer): P12 W10 L2 – 83.33%
2012 (Heyneke Meyer): P12 W7 L3 – 58.33% (two draws recorded)
2011 (Peter de Villiers): P9 W5 L4 – 55.55%
2010 (Peter de Villiers): P14 W8 L6 – 57.14%
2009 (Peter de Villiers): P12 W8 L4 – 66.67%
2008 (Peter de Villiers): P13 W9 L4 – 69.23%
2007 (Jake White): P17 W14 L3 – 82.35%
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