The greatest rugby rivalry of the amateur era

Gavin Fernie Roar Pro

By Gavin Fernie, Gavin Fernie is a Roar Pro

 , , ,

67 Have your say

    The first rugby Test I watched was as a boy, when the mighty 1949 All Blacks played the Springboks at the old Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

    The good aspect was the sheer nerve-tingling excitement of seeing the giants of the day bashing into each other, and the skill of the backs probing for a gap to race to the tryline.

    Hansie Brewis, the Springbok flyhalf, did just that, feinting a drop and scurrying in to score a brilliant try.

    Another good aspect of that tour was that it revived the tremendous All Black vs Springbok rivalry, which had been dormant since the best Springbok team ever beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in 1937.

    However this rivalry revival was brought about by the bad.

    The bad was that the All Blacks were beaten in the first Test at Newlands by the boot of Okay Geffin, and this poisoned the whole series, leading to a 4-0 whitewash by the Springboks.

    One of the worst aspects of the tour was the ridiculous travel itinerary foisted upon the All Blacks by the South African rugby authorities, and some dubious home town refereeing.

    In 1956, while at boarding school in Grahamstown, the much-anticipated Springbok tour to New Zealand produced a series which at times more resembled a full scale war between two rugby-mad nations than a memorable clash between the two ultimate amateur exponents of the great winter team game.

    The All Blacks extracted revenge in convincing fashion with some very good football, but soured the pitch with dubious tactics in the scrums in the third Test, and some refereeing which left a bad taste in the Springboks’ mouths.

    The old nemesis of hometown referees played a part in the controversy surrounding the tour, but there was little doubt the 1956 All Blacks were a better team than the Springboks.

    The good side of the Springbok defeat was that most of the team still had a wonderful time in hospitable (off the field) rugby-mad New Zealand.

    Wilson Whineray’s 1960 All Blacks produced some grand forward play in a tough tour of South Africa, but the standard of their backline play was disappointing.

    The pendulum swung again and, as had happened in 1949, the calibre of South African refereeing was in question, with some dubious decisions going against the tourists.

    The 1965 Springbok tour to New Zealand resulted in a crushing defeat inflicted by one of the very best All Black teams of the amateur era.

    The overall standard of forward play by a truly great All Black pack (and competent backs) totally overwhelmed a Springbok team which lacked the mongrel and fire of traditional Springbok packs.

    The standout feature of the Test series was the magnificent standard the All Black pack maintained. The bad aspect was that except for one gutsy display in the mud, the Springboks were rendered toothless by a poor pack of forwards, unable to supply enough ball to some fine backs at their disposal.

    The good aspect of the 1970 All Blacks tour was the intensity of all the Tests, though this was marred by the dirty play of the second Test at Newlands and the poor selections made by the All Black management at crucial times.

    This was Test rugby at its toughest and in the end the Springbok forwards prevailed. The All Black backs were not up to the anticipated All Black standard throughout the tour.

    One had the feeling that Andy Leslie’s 1976 team in South Africa was not of the same calibre as the previous All Black teams which visited South Africa. The forward play was desultory at times but some sparkling moments came from the Springbok backs to sweeten the pill.

    Finally, the very good aspect of the 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand was the high standard of backline play by the Springboks in particular, and also some good backline skills by the All Blacks.

    The worst aspect of the tour was the presence of the thuggish rent-a mob protest idiots, and the highly dubious decisions by Clive Norling in the Eden Park flour bomb Test.

    Despite the political cloud which hung over the entire tour, the good was once again the passion and hospitality of the average Kiwi rugby fan.

    Ironically, this was one of the best Springbok teams to tour overseas, which in terribly difficult circumstances came within a whisker (Norling’s moustache) of beating the All Blacks in their own backyard.

    The ultimate rugby rivalry in the amateur era was the memorable clashes between the All Blacks and the Springboks over a 53-year period from 1928 to 1981.

    The good of being banished for a decade was that Springboks could start to include players from all population groups within the country on readmission; the bad was the length of time for the isolation to bite.

    It caused the rugby world to miss out on seeing some truly outstanding Springboks of the mid and late 80s, and the ugly was the absence of tours to and from South Africa because of them being the pariahs of the world.

    Fortunately the ultimate rugby rivalry has survived, so good prevails over the bad and the ugly.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (67)

    • February 25th 2013 @ 6:33am
      Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      A few things… your comments regarding the 81 tour and rent a mob, shows your complete lack of knowledge of how the tour divided the country. So your comments are at best ignorant and at worst highly offensive.

      Secondly, I think everyone grew up a little and the game expanded including the birth of the rugby World Cup and the game became more inclusive.

      I think what we do miss are tours.

      Finally the great Sputh African players the world missed out on all had disappeared when the Cavaliers toured and Sourh Africa came back into the playing group. I personally think much if Sout Africa’s later dominance in South Africa was a result if rent a ref.

      Anyway from a Sourh African point of view I guess your comments are understandable. Just not sure the rest of the world is as sad about missing out as you make out they ought to be.

      But in a great rivalry I do agree and growing up getting up in the early hours to watch the Bok and the Lions… I really miss the tours and particularly those in other rugby mad nations.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 8:49am
        Emric said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        The 81 protests were more about Minto keeping to his political protest movement unified. Recent surveys handed to and returned from active protestors showed that the protests were about breaking the nzrfu and the power of the all blacks then they were ever about south africas politics the politics were the excuse to fool the nation into going along with Mintos plans

        As for rent a mob the vast bulk of the protestors and their leaders were the same ilk who protested against the Vietnam war effectively these movement leaders had a taste of real political power they liked it and needed a new cause to fight

        It almost worked rugby in New Zealand was damaged a lot by Minto and his co conspirators fortunately it did not die and his desired effect of attempting to kill rugby from new Zealand way of life failed but only just

        Why didn’t minto just finish the job and kill nz rugby for good? The nzrfu banned tours of sa this killed the reasons minto was using against ir and Mintos power died with it in effect the power minto sort to discredit hurt him badly in the end he lost the vast bulk of his protest movement and it effectively ended any real protest power of the new Zealand people

        Minto didn’t care about the poor native people of south Africa he cared about finding another cause for his protest movement to champion this cause was anti rugby and not anti tour

        • February 25th 2013 @ 10:34am
          Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          Really… Is that your recollection. Did you go to the Waikato game, were you in the small towns where there were fights, did you go to the games when the Cavaliers returned. I met John Minto and for the record wanted to punch him in the face. But your comments about Vietnam protestors is way off the mark. Did you talk or know anyone in the red squads set up to manage a situation up and down the country.

          People didn’t want the Bok coming not because of political reasons but because it would divide the country. I had a teacher wearing a crash helmet and a guy next to me in the stand throwing full beer cans at her. The place was a riot and it was a dumb rent a crowd who couldn’t think for themselves..

          You can write whatever history you want in your head and on blogs, but the truth is often somewhat different. Rent a crowd as I say is completely ignorant.

          • Roar Rookie

            February 25th 2013 @ 2:23pm
            Chris Hardiman said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

            Families were split over the tour including Murray Ball (Rugby player as well and son of an All Black) of Footrot Flats fame who withdrew the Dog as All Blacks mascot. Here’s a little film of it:

          • February 26th 2013 @ 3:14pm
            rae1 said | February 26th 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            Too right Chivas and Chris. What ‘rent a crowd’ is Emric talking about? For me this experience was very real. Our family identify as Maori and this ripped our immediate and extended family apart. My partner was pro, I was anti. We were at loggerheads throughout the duration of the tour. He went to the Waikato game with his father while his brother and two sisters were being jeered at and pelted with bottles in the middle of the pitch, I was at home in the BoP cheering on the protesters. I didn’t go to any of the games.
            My Dad was pro my Mum was anti. Her youngest brother (about 5 years older than me) was an established AB at the time. He played in the tests. He was also one of the Cavaliers. I could not fathom that he would allow himself to be seen to be supporting a regime that did not allow Maori to tour SA because of their colour, or in later years were afforded the status of ‘honorary whites’ in order to enter the republic.’The arguments and debates that took place amongst her brothers and sisters, as well as everyone else in the local community had huge follow-on effects in the way we were relating to each other. News items each night rekindled and kept the debates going. I think everyone was glad when the Boks eventually left. Minto and co may have had other agendas re. the power of the NZRFU, however I believe many rugby loving people temporarily put their love of the game aside for what they saw as a moral and humanitarian cause that surpassed a game.
            Looking back now, many in NZ (both pro and anti) would agree and feel proud that in some small way, the events that took place then contributed to the realisation, at government level in SA, that things in SA needed to change.

            • Roar Rookie

              February 26th 2013 @ 5:09pm
              Chris Hardiman said | February 26th 2013 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

              Thanks for that personal account mate.

      • Roar Guru

        February 25th 2013 @ 9:11am
        biltongbek said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        Well, if you want to believe the rent-a-referee story, then go with it. πŸ˜‰

        • February 25th 2013 @ 9:31am
          Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

          I know, it’s South African hospitality πŸ˜‰

      • February 25th 2013 @ 2:21pm
        Gavin Fernie said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        Chivas, as a regular visitor to New Zealand with family and old rugby friends I am aware of the divisions which took place iin NZ due to the ‘unwanted’ 1981 Springbok tour. Space limited my full interpretaion of the background to the tour, but I chose to convey the feelings of the players, some of whom I know reasonably well. So much has been written about the responses of New Zealanders to the ‘unwanted’ tourists, but very little about the experiences of the players to the rigours of a very unusual rugby tour.

        I am sorry you find my comments highly offensive and that I am ignorant. I find your response so typically narrow minded of a particular sort of knee jerk person who is either unwilling or too ignorant to want to see both sides of the coin. Fortunately for me, discussion with many people in New Zealand, a country I like and admire enormously, confirms that not every Kiwi is like you.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 2:39pm
          Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

          Good I’m glad you have visited and spoken to some people. Your views are clearly correct. As stated saying it was rent a crowd is a grossly ignorant comment to make. I am under no illusion the difficulties faced by a touring team in this scenario as it was for the AB’s or the cavaliers who were ostracised publically.

          Personally I think know both more New Zealanders and rugby players than you and was around at the time to see it unfold. Rent a crowd is a throw away rubbish comment that doesn’t respect or show compassion for how families and country was divided.

          But by all means hang onto your misguided comments. I assure you I am not the only one who disagrees with your version of the truth.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 2:29pm
        Gavin Fernie said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

        Chivas, one point which indicates how little you know about the great rivalry.

        When the Cavaliers toured here in 1986, the Cavaliers squad, minus John Kirwan, was a pretty formidable outfit. Most of that squad went on to win the 1987 RWC, and numerous rugby experts in NZ attribute the high standard of play in the tests between the Cavaliers and the Springboks fine tuned the All Blacks for their impressive victories in winning 1987 RWC.

        Your gross ignorance of the Springboks who played in that series confirms that your view is so one sided it is pointless to debate further. Perhaps you have also forgotten the result of that short 3 test series?

        • February 25th 2013 @ 2:41pm
          Sam Taulelei said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:41pm | ! Report


          Of the 1986 Cavaliers, there were only 9 survivors who made the world cup squad of 26 the following year, one of them not even taking the field (Andy Dalton).

          Two backs (Grant Fox and Craig Green) and seven forwards (Shelford, Whetton brothers, Murray Pierce, Albert Anderson, Steve McDowell and Dalton).

          Not most of the Cavaliers squad but certainly some core players – Fox, Shelford, Whetton brothers and Steve McDowell.

          • February 25th 2013 @ 9:28pm
            Gavin Fernie said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

            Thanks Sam for correcting me. I have just finished reading Richie McCaw’s excellent autobiography, and was fascinated as to how this great player and fine young man handled the adversity of losing out in RWC2007 to the French and Wayne Barnes, and how he and his fellow All Blacks turned that to advantage in RWC2011.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 2:49pm
          Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

          Really now I don’t understand the rivalry. Based on what… you think I don’t know who played on the Cavaliers tour? I have sat and listened to Murray Mexted discussing it at the rugby club when he first arrived back from it. I have watched all games.

          Your desire to take offence has apparently outweighed your reason. As such my original point about another South African blowing air up there own jumpers on an Australian web site holds true.

          Where did I say the rivalry wasn’t great? The arrogance was always something disliked by kiwis.

          Now you can take this how you want and I also know a large number of South Africans, but it doesn’t change my view on the 81 tour, regardless of the opinions of a tourist.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 2:50pm
          Jerry said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

          Rather than it being that series that lead to dominating performances in 87, I’d imagine it was the presence of Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Jones, David Kirk, Joe Stanley, John Kirwan, John Gallagher etc.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 3:02pm
          Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          And for the record, many of the AB’s who played in that series felt that the refreeing was atrociously one-sided. Did you get that from the ones you spoke to? Or are you making it up.

          I know full well who won the series, same as I know who won in 1981… because I was there, not because it was handed down to me as a bed time story.

          • February 25th 2013 @ 3:27pm
            dadiggle said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

            FFS keep politics out of the sport and enjoy and admire how 30 guys played a rugby match while being bombed with some Kiwi’s mom self raising flour and Ray Mordt scoring 4 tries. Oh and Naas Botha running with the ball. Funy thing is Errol Tobias went on that tour. NZ have a Moari team which was fine SA had the Proteas and the Leopards which were our native teams. Dunno why the Kiwi’s got so stoked and devided over there over the Queens diamonds not arriving on time since 1948

            • February 26th 2013 @ 4:21am
              Chivas said | February 26th 2013 @ 4:21am | ! Report

              Haha, too funny. I think some of the guys were involved in a bake-off and fogot some ingredients, so good ole kiwi ingenuity and hospitality. Andy Hayden had been saying he could side-step which is why they dropped his on his head.

              But in seriousness at the time I asked why people like my dad were against the Bok coming considering we had grown up being dragged out of bed in the wee hours to watch them since I was about 6. It was rugby, why is politics flowing into sport… and his response was what it would do to the country. And it did and it was so divisive and angry and shameful in hindsight.

              When the protestors got beaten up in Matamata, my mate had tee-shirts with a jumping springbok saying pummel a protestor. So politics wasn’t able to be kept separate then unfortunately. And my point was Gavin’s interpretation was sloppy. There were real people involved on both sides and a lot of anger.

              But thank you for the levity πŸ™‚

      • February 25th 2013 @ 2:49pm
        dadiggle said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        FFS keep politics out of the sport and enjoy and admire how 30 guys played a rugby match while being bombed with some Kiwi’s mom self raising flour and Ray Mordt scoring 4 tries. Oh and Naas Botha running with the ball. Funy thing is Errol Tobias went on that tour. NZ have a Moari team which was fine SA had the Proteas and the Leopards which were our native teams. Dunno why the Kiwi’s got pissed and devided over there over the Queens daimonds not arriving on time since 1948

        • February 25th 2013 @ 5:23pm
          Jerry said | February 25th 2013 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

          Is there an echo in here? BTW Ray Mordt didn’t score 4 tries.

          • Roar Guru

            February 26th 2013 @ 12:10am
            biltongbek said | February 26th 2013 @ 12:10am | ! Report

            Yeah, it was only a hattrick. πŸ˜‰

          • February 26th 2013 @ 1:44am
            dadiggle said | February 26th 2013 @ 1:44am | ! Report

            Meant 3 sorry and its not me creating the echo its this site and its http request loafing or something error

    • Roar Guru

      February 25th 2013 @ 9:41am
      sheek said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      As an outsider, I have always the loved the ABs-Boks clashes. It’s the ultimate in intensity & “staring each other down.”

      I also think that while dubious hometown refereeing decisions were present in most series, it was particularly so in 1976. South Africa could feel the world closing in on it in 1976, & winning the 1976 series to justify their way of life became more pointed.

      Neither side was vintage then, but the ABs made some very poor selection choices in personnel, especially in the backs. The loss of Joe Karam to league really hurt them as it left them without a consistent goalkicker.

      While Apartheid was a real tragedy, the sporting tragedy is that in the 80s, the Boks could assemble quite possibly one of the greatest backlines in history.

      If the ABs had originally toured in 1985, as they were supposed to, they would have most likely come up against this backline:

      Fullback – Johan Heunis (27)

      Right wing – Ray Mordt (28)

      Outside centre – Danie Gerber (27)

      Inside centre – Michael du Plessis (27)

      Left wing – Carel du Plessis (25)

      Flyhalf – Naas Botha (28)

      Scrumhalf – Divan Serfontein (31)

      Heck, what a backline!

      For backrowers, pick three from seven – Nick Mallett, Jannie Breedt, Gert Smal, Rob Louw, Theuns Stofberg, Wahl Bartmann or Burger Geldenhuys.

      For locks you would have had Louis Moolman with maybe Hennie Bekker or Shalk Burger snr.

      Hooker would have been Uli Schmidt.

      There were plenty of top frontrowers, the top four probably being Hempies du Toit, Ockie Oosthuisen, Flippie van der Merwe & Hennie van Aswegen.

      I guess there are people who would see poetic justice in South Africa being isolated at the very moment they had potentially one of their greatest rugby teams.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 9:49am
        Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Just for the record in case you missed it the cavaliers did tour, hence the birth of the baby blacks.

        I must have been watching something else because they weren’t as dominant as what you are suggesting… Did you watch the games at all?

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 10:02am
          sheek said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          Yes Chivas,

          The official ABs tour was called off in 1985, & replaced by the Cavaliers in 1986. I have seen footage of all four ‘tests.’

          And yes, the Boks weren’t that dominating playing against an aging ABs side, many of whom had hung around too long for that “final” tour of SA. There was also the despicable king-hit from Geldenhuys on tour skipper Andy Dalton, which put him out of the tests.

          But the 1986 Boks team was a different beast to the team they might have had in 1985. Mordt & Louw took off to league when the 85 tour was cancelled, while Serfontein & Stofberg (probable captain) retired.

          That’s four very key personnel from 1985 who weren’t there in 1986.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 2:32pm
        Gavin Fernie said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:32pm | ! Report


        You have said it all; well summed up.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 10:21am
      Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      But it was the greatest SA side… all through the 80’s, so your point doesn’t really count about a couple of retirees and a couple offshore. The point in the original article was all through the 80’s.

      Also you said any three of…. so you are bemoaning a halfback (fair enough) and a winger against an All Black team that was ageing (but certainly not toothless), but also not the side of 87.

      The point is the Yaapies roll this out all the time to suggest they would have dominated in the 80’s and 90’s. and by doing do dismiss every other team… when they were the ones dismissed. There was ample opportunity to redress the situation in rugby, but it wasn’t.

      And when they did come back they were crap and got rolled like bunnies by everyone. The reason they hadn’t been able to play and improve against the other sides. Fair cop, 4 years on they were still rubbish. Show me in the modern era when they have dominated, not for a year or a tournament.

      I grew up watching South African rugby and have tremendous respect for their teams and rugby culture. But the suggestion that the world missed out on the greatest team… Not convinced.

      For the record I still rate Gerber as the best centre I have seen. Compared to him Tana Unafa looks like a winger playing centre… Ok he was. And that is my rant at 7:30 in the morning πŸ™‚

      • Roar Guru

        February 25th 2013 @ 10:36am
        Jiggles said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        “Show me in the modern era when they have dominated, not for a year or a tournament.”

        Well thats a daft statement to make. They were pretty good 98-99, only losing once in 98, and in 2009 they monstered everyone in the tri nations and won the Lions.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 10:46am
          Jerry said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          “Well thats a daft statement to make. They were pretty good 98-99, only losing once in 98, and in 2009 they monstered everyone in the tri nations and won the Lions.”

          Yeah, late 97-99 was a great run for them, but the fact you have to bring up 2009 as the only other dominant period shows there’s some validity in Chivas statement. They beat the Lions – but still lost the third test. They dominated NZ, sure, but did lose a test to Aus and then lost half their matches on the NH tour. A team that goes 8-4 for the season isn’t really that dominant and doesn’t deserve be hailed as an all time great side.

        • February 26th 2013 @ 4:35am
          Chivas said | February 26th 2013 @ 4:35am | ! Report

          Jiggle my grammar got all mixed up. I meant show me a period of domination and not just a tournament or a good season… but a period of dominance. A long time between drinks.

          I don’t believe their failure to be a dominant force has anything to do with being in the wilderness. If it does when does this stop being an excuse. The great South African rugby team looks decidedly less than great in the last 20 years… I would suggest a bit flaccid. A once proud nation living in past glories.

          And why so harsh, because I keep expecting them to bounce back hard like they did when the Bulls dominated and they swept the AB’s off the park. There was no answer…. then next season… They are worse to support than Waikato who I have supported my whole life. Who knows when they will turn up.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 10:42am
      Jorceylin said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      The Springboks have dominated the All Blacks for the majority of history. Up until 1992 they had more wins against the All Blacks. Do the maths, that is near 100 years of dominance. Being banned for 20 years does have a negative effect, not on the talent, but on the brains of the operation. They’re still stuck a bit behind time with a coach like Meyer running the show and his pathetic selections.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 11:20am
        Jerry said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:20am | ! Report

        Having a slight edge isn’t ‘dominance’. Dominance is what the AB’s have done to the Boks since 92.

        • February 27th 2013 @ 11:05am
          Ian said | February 27th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          Prior to 1992 (the Springboks return) their record against the AB’s was 21-15. Due to politics, and isolation of 10 or so years, the first few back were disastrous. And yet, somehow, they managed to win the ’95 WC.

          It would have been fascinating if they had played in ’87…

          • February 27th 2013 @ 11:27am
            Jerry said | February 27th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

            It was 20-15 with 2 draws. The Boks had hosted 3 more matches than NZ, which is significant given each team’s home winning %. Even taking that into account, the Boks were ahead, but hardly dominant.

            I’d forgotten the 95 RWC, but that sounds inspirational – someone should make a film about it.

            • February 27th 2013 @ 6:22pm
              Ian said | February 27th 2013 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

              I’m not arguing they were dominant, but they were ahead. By the time the bumbling SA Rugby officials, and government had got their act together, the AB’s had taken the lead.

              There’s no arguing that the AB’s have been the best team of the professional era, but I suspect if the roles had been reversed and the AB’s had to cope with the problems the SA team had with interference in team selections, and the infamous quota system being enforced, the Boks would still be ahead.

              Pity about ’87…

              • February 27th 2013 @ 6:38pm
                Jerry said | February 27th 2013 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

                “By the time the bumbling SA Rugby officials, and government had got their act together, the AB’s had taken the lead.”

                The way you’ve phrased that indicates they have now got their act together – doesn’t seem to be helping much….

              • February 27th 2013 @ 6:49pm
                Chivas said | February 27th 2013 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                Too many if’s Ian. If the refs hadn’t been paid from South African coffers, if the food was better in the AB hotel. If South Africa wasn’t a tough environment maybe they wouldn’t be so tough. You can spin this one a thousand ways. It is what it is.

                If Mary was a he…. One might wonder if you need some cheese with that whine :-). It is the way it is and making excuses for South Africa’s ability to win now is a bit sad. The structures are a hurdle in South Africa, but if people want to play the victim card aren’t there better people to voice those concerns to? Every country has their own issues. The past is great but we are in 2013 a long way from those days. I’m interested in what the future holds and how teams overcome their internal issues and rise to the top. Maybe it is too hard for South Africa and they will only have past glories to refer to. I don’t know. I don’t think so and certainly hope not, because there’s nothing better than sticking it to a side that is patriotic, proud and fiercely competitive.

              • Roar Guru

                February 27th 2013 @ 6:50pm
                biltongbek said | February 27th 2013 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

                If SARU had their act together we wouldn’t have the following scenario’s

                The appointment of PDV without merit
                Sharing our television revenue equally with OZ and NZ
                The Lions and Kings fiasco
                A reduced and marginalised Currie Cup
                Out of 14 provinces only 3 with money

                etc. etc.

              • Roar Guru

                February 27th 2013 @ 6:53pm
                biltongbek said | February 27th 2013 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

                Nice post Chivas, and very true.

              • February 27th 2013 @ 6:53pm
                Chivas said | February 27th 2013 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

                Some cheddar with that Biltong πŸ™‚

              • February 28th 2013 @ 2:37pm
                richard said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

                Ian,you keep bringing up ’87.Well,,as Danie Craven said, while attending that WC, the AB’s would win the tournament,even with the Springboks there.And don’t bring up the defeat of the Cavaliers as evidence of any SA superiority.The AB team that took the field in ’87 was quite different to the ’86 side.

                btw the constant excuse of quotas etc hampering the boks is wearing a little thin.You have been back in international rugby since 1992.You should have got your act together by now.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 12:22pm
        Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        Math hmmm. First test in 1924 and it was a draw. New Zealand won series in 56 and beend a ding dong since. South Africa out by 81. How do you get 100 years.

        Anyway I wasn’t around then. I’m only 47 and have yet to see this South African dominance either before or since finding themselves in the wilderness.

        School was not just there for you to eat your lunch.

        Further to that, the article was about how great South African rugby was and how thankful we should be to have them back. Now you are saying the last decade is because you couldn’t play internationals… As stated sounds like colouring in history to make South Africans feel like the are kings. Perhaps they should bring out a movie πŸ™‚

      • February 25th 2013 @ 1:55pm
        atlas said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

        South Africa have played NZ 85 times
        34 wins 40%
        48 losses 56.5%
        3 draws 3.5%

        Matches played at home in SA – 44
        24 won
        19 lost
        1 draws

        What significance is 1992, or just a number from the hat as at that time SA’s win rate was 52.6%
        At end 1995 it was exactly a 50% win rate

        Dominance? I’m unsure about that fact.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 2:58pm
        Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

        Just one more small thing the first series win by SA in NZ was in the late 1930’s… I can’t even get 50 years of let alone 100… and then add to that the time between tests… 1921, 1928, 1937, 1949, 1956… I think more games have been played in the modern era between the two teams and yet excuses like being in the wilderness which was a while ago now is still being trotted out.

        It’s not an excuse anymore than Waratahs can complain the Cheika is from a bygone era. Maths and logic seem to be missing.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 3:05pm
        Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        And one final thing 1992 – 1981 = 11 years not 20

        • February 25th 2013 @ 3:13pm
          Jerry said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

          Even less Chivas, England toured SA in 1984.

    • Roar Guru

      February 25th 2013 @ 10:43am
      sheek said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report


      I’m not looking for arguments today! πŸ˜‰

      As an Aussie, I really don’t care enough. I’m fascinated by the quality of the rugby, but otherwise, I don’t care about chest-beating. I’ll that to you Kiwis & Saffies.

      I have an excellent book at home – ‘Toughest Of Them All’ (about the battle for rugby supremacy between the ABs & Boks) – co-written by NZ journalist Grant Harding & SA journalist David Williams & published in 2000.

      It’s a great read, but often the childish observations from both men about the antics of the other’s country, detracts from the quality of the book.

      I must confess, as a sporting fan, perhaps I put the Saffies cricket team of the 70s & their rugby team of the 80s on a higher pedestal than they deserve because they were denied the opportunity to play in actual tests.

      Had they done so, they might not have been as good as I think they are.

      Anyway, the Wallabies had potentially the best rugby backline that the world might have witnessed. The only guy missing from the 1984 grand slam team was Michael O’Connor, who would have replaced Slack. Or perhaps a young Lynagh with O’Connor playing at 12.

      Even today, 31 years since his defection to league, I still feel sick that we lost such a potentially great player. And if we had also kept Wally Lewis (playing in between Ella & O’Connor) well, the heart just pounds at the possible thought of what might have been.

      In any case, a backline of Roger Gould, David Campese, Mick O’Connor, Michael Lynagh (or Andy Slack), Brendan Moon, Mark Ella & Nick Farr-Jones would have been unsurpassed in my humble opinion. πŸ™‚

      I also agree Gerber is right up there with the very best. To still play so well in 1992 at the age of 34 really says a lot about his enduring skill & longevity.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 12:08pm
        Chivas said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Interesting there is a great convert Michael O’coonor. I liked him, shouldn’t have switched but what an asset in league. Roger Gould had a boot but weak as on defence. Don’t rate him. The rest were ok :-).

        I also liked Papworth and the fact he could step off both feet. I remember him when Aus came over and stole the Bledisloe cup which ended up in us drowning out sorrows with Tequila.

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 1:08pm
          sheek said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report


          There’s a misconception regarding Gould & his defence. Being a big guy, he could be stood up & run around when standing flat-footed.

          But on the move in defence, he was as strong as anyone at the tackle.

          Yeah, Pappy was very good, but slight & injury prone.

          The Aussies sent two outstanding schoolboy teams to Britain & Ireland in 1977 & 81.

          The 77 team had Mark Ella at 10, Gary Ella at 13 & Glen Ella at 15. Tony Melrose was inside centre, goalkicker & captain. O’Connor & Michael Hawker were shunted onto the wings, & Wally Lewis was on the bench!

          The 81 team had Brad Burke at 9 & his brother Matt P. Burke at 13. Lynagh was flyhalf, Papworth inside centre, Ian Williams on one wing & David Knox at fullback.

          Pretty cool huh!

      • February 26th 2013 @ 10:40am
        dadiggle said | February 26th 2013 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        Greatest backline with Michael Lynagh at 10?

        Larkham Horan Little Tune Roff Burke
        Geez that is one awesome line up but different era. The game is much different now. Back in the amateur era these guys played for free and for fun and they would play with missing fingers stitched up knocked broken arms the works. Medics gave you a panado headache tablet and up you go. Todays guys might be bigger fitter and play differently but it would have looked like a hospital in WWII if they played back in that era.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 10:56am
      θœ˜ηŽ‹ said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:56am | ! Report

      wouldn’t it be nice if with the Lions touring Aus if we could cancel the 4nations, have France and Italy tour Argentina and have a good ol’ fashioned NZ/Springbok tour?

    , , ,