Cape Town - The All Blacks will relish returning to Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria to tackle the Springboks, if history is anything to go by.
SA Rugby on Monday announced South Africa’s home venues for the 2018 Rugby Championship, with the All Blacks set to return to Pretoria for the first time in more than a decade when they play at Loftus Versfeld on October 6.
The Springboks’ other home matches are in Durban against Argentina (August 18) and in Port Elizabeth against Australia (September 29).
The All Blacks’ return to Pretoria was a big talking point and the Kiwis will feel their return to the South African capital is long overdue as they are yet to lose a Test there since the advent of professionalism.
Since 1996, the All Blacks have won all four Tests played at Loftus Versfeld and three of the wins were in convincing fashion.
In 1996, New Zealand won 33-26 at Loftus Versfeld - a game which saw them secure their first Test series win on South African shores.
It was also the last time the two nations had contested a series of three or four Tests.
In 1999, the All Blacks won 34-18 in the Tri-Nations (as the Rugby Championship was then called), while in 2003 they inflicted what was then their biggest ever win over the Boks with a 52-16 scoreline.
The last time the two nations met at Loftus was in 2006 when the visitors also won handsomely by 45-26.
South Africa’s only win over New Zealand in Pretoria came way back in 1970, when the Boks triumphed 17-6 in the first of a four-Test series which the hosts would eventually win 3-1.
It was the only time the Springboks and All Blacks had met in Pretoria in the amateur era.
During this time, the All Blacks could never win a series in South Africa, until Sean Fitzpatrick’s charges did so in 1996 - the first year of professional rugby.
Interestingly, at the advent of professionalism, the Springboks held a 21-18 win-loss record against their great rivals.
But the tables have turned significantly since 1996, with the Kiwis winning 39 Tests compared to a meagre 14 by South Africa.
The All Blacks currently boast a 57-35 win-loss record against the Springboks, with three draws.
South Africa's record against New Zealand in Pretoria:
1970: South Africa 17-6 New Zealand
1996: South Africa 26-33 New Zealand
1999: South Africa 18-34 New Zealand
2003: South Africa 16-52 New Zealand
2006: South Africa 26-45 New Zealand