Rugby Championship

7 most embarrassing moments in Bok history

2017-09-18 14:34
All Blacks v Springboks (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Following a dreadful 2016, which included a 57-15 drubbing at home against the All Blacks as well as a loss to Italy, Sport24 highlighted the six most embarrassing moments in Springbok history.

Unfortunately, this past weekend saw yet another humiliation as the Springboks suffered a record-breaking 57-0 defeat to the All Blacks in Albany.

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 SEVEN of the most embarrassing Springbok defeats have occurred in recent times.

Here they are, in order from most embarrassing to least:

1. September 19, 2015: South Africa 32-34 Japan, Brighton (coach Heyneke Meyer)

This match at the Rugby World Cup in England remains the worst result in the history of Springbok rugby. The bookmakers had the Boks to win by 44 points, 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.

It was arguably the greatest upset in the history of rugby union and with many of South Africa’s top provincial teams likely capable of beating Japan, the result ranks as the most embarrassing moment in Springbok rugby history.

2. September 16, 2017: New Zealand 57-0 South Africa, Albany (coach Allister Coetzee)

On points difference, this past weekend's result was the worst in Springbok history.

It was men against boys and the Test painted a bleak picture of the current state of South African rugby.

After starting the year with five successive wins and a draw, few would have thought that the Boks would slump to an even lower low than last year’s 57-15 drubbing in Durban.

In the overall head-to-head stakes, the All Backs now boast a 56-35 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 38 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!

I rank this at No 2 because it was not as surprising as the Japan debacle two years ago.

3. November 23, 2002: England 53-3 South Africa, London (coach Rudolf Straeuli)

This game was part of a "dark period" in Springbok rugby.

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 defeat at the time - a record which stood until last weekend.

Things got so bad that a frustrated Bok skipper Corne Krige, attempting to throw 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.

4. October 8, 2016: South Africa 15-57 New Zealand, Durban (coach Allister Coetzee)

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

It’s a record they went on to break when they beat the Wallabies for an 18th straight win a few weeks later.

Bok fans were in disbelief following that horrendous result, but little did they know what lay in wait later in the year and in 2017.

5. July 19, 2003: South Africa 16-52 New Zealand, Pretoria (coach Rudolf Straeuli)

Less than a year after the debacle at Twickenham, coach Rudolf 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 then record losing margin (to New Zealand) with the All Blacks running in seven tries to the solitary score from Bok wing Ashwin Willemse.

6. July 15, 2006: Australia 49-0 South Africa, Brisbane (coach Jake White)

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.

7. November 19, 2016: Italy 20-18 South Africa, Florence (coach Allister Coetzee)

It was Italy's first ever win over South Africa in 13 attempts.

Few expected a Springbok defeat, although many predicted them to struggle their way past the 13th-ranked Italians.

As predicted, they did stumble and fumble - but forgot to eke out the victory!

As a result, this match cannot be separated from the above-mentioned fiascos.

*Note: Sport24 hopes not to have to add to this list in 2017...

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