Cape Town – The history of South Africa v Namibia at rugby is short … and perhaps only sweet if you have Springbok leanings.
Looking ahead to this Saturday’s RWC 2019 meeting (11:45, SA time) there have been just two previous bilateral clashes – one at a World Cup, one a conventional Test match – and as many enormous SA wins.
Here is a short recap of those earlier tussles:
SA 105 Namibia 13 (Cape Town, 2007)
Although they beat Scotland at Murrayfield in a final warm-up fixture some 10 days later, this was the Boks’ last Test match on home soil ahead of their eventually title-winning RWC 2007 -- and in the unusual slot of a Wednesday night at Newlands in mid-August.
Regular captain John Smit pulled out ahead of the maiden bilateral clash, bringing Gary Botha into the starting mix at hooker and Victor Matfield taking acting charge … but the Boks made light of the tweaks in a 15-tries-to-one romp.
Despite having a former Bulls team-mate of Matfield – big loosehead prop Kees Lensing -- as their own skipper and able to pass on some forms of set-piece intelligence to his unfancied troops, the Namibians couldn’t live with the pace and vibrancy of the Bok game.
Although hat-tricks were registered in the try column by two Bok loose forwards, Juan Smith and Schalk Burger, the game was mostly notable individually for Percy Montgomery’s record haul for the country of 35 points, pipping Jannie de Beer’s last landmark of 34 posted eight years earlier.
Apart from scoring a try of his own, popular local figure “Monty” landed 12 conversions and two penalties.
This was the third-biggest triumph in Bok history, still falling behind the 134-3 score-line against Uruguay (East London, 2005) and 101-0 against Italy (Durban, 1999).
Namibia’s consolation was notching their first – and still only – try against the Boks, dotted by their Walvis Bay-born debutant outside back Bradley Langenhoven.
SA 87 Namibia 0 (North Harbour, 2011)
Unlike this Saturday, which will be the second game for both Pool B rivals, the RWC 2011 clash was the Boks’ third of the group stage, coming after they had narrowly seen off toughest threats on paper Wales, plus Fiji more comfortably.
Things didn’t go entirely to plan in a scratchy first half by these Boks of the Peter de Villiers era, as they showed a lack of patience and composure and only dotted four of their eventually dozen tries – including one penalty try.
But they gradually found their fullest mojo and ran in a further eight in the altogether more fluid second period.
There were two each to right wing Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and replacement centre Juan de Jongh, even though he only got on the park in the 62nd minute.
Another healthy statistical feature of the game from a Bok point of view was that all 12 tries were converted: the first six by Morne Steyn and the final half-dozen by another man to arrive off the splinters in the busy second half, Ruan Pienaar.
The Namibians had been led by robust, then Saracens-based flank Jacques Burger, once of the Bulls and currently assisting SuperSport’s punditry cause at RWC 2019.
*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing ...