The Springboks mission is clear – beat the All Blacks in this high-stakes game and claim the bragging rights for the next 100 matches.
THE 100th match between the Springboks and the All Blacks should have been a grand affêre.
Special kits, former players at the game, daai tipe ding – something that celebrates the rivalry for the big sporting event it is.
It’s a rivalry that kicked off in 1921 when Boy Morkel led the Springboks at Carisbrook, Dunedin, for the first time. Ironic that exactly 100 years later, the two teams will play their 100th Test.
Anyway, on that day New Zealand beat South Africa 13-5. They would go on to win 59 of the 99 Tests played to date, with South Africa only winning 36.
Four matches were drawn, so that gives South Africa a win percentage of 36 percent.
Most recently the Springboks’ record makes for even worse reading – of the last 10 outings they’ve only won two. One ended in a draw, leaving them with a 20 percent win record.
Let’s not forget that the All Blacks also won the last match between the two teams … AT THE WORLD CUP!
They were then beaten by an England side that played out of their skins in the semi-final and simply couldn’t reproduce that sort of performance against the Boks in the final.
Stats and facts are stats and facts – you can’t deny them.
The summary therefore is clear: historically-speaking New Zealand is better at rugby than South Africa.
I can sense some of you telling me to spit out the crap I’m talking. It’s emotion – get rid of it.
So why is it then that the two teams have won the same amount of World Cup trophies, with South Africa actually having a better strike rate in this competition than the Kiwis, not having played in the 1987 tournament?
And the answer is simple. Think 1995 World Cup final, think Ricky Januarie-Dunedin and just think World Cups in general. South Africa produce their best on the big stage and with their backs to the wall.
In that regard, this week couldn’t be set up any better.
Beat the All Blacks in this game and the two defeats to the Wallabies are forgotten.
Beat the All Blacks and South Africa will believe that the Boks are the best in the world.
Beat the All Blacks in this high-stakes game and claim the bragging rights for the next 100 matches … stop me, it’s an exaggeration, but you catch my drift.
The stakes are high and the Boks have their backs to the wall, I wouldn’t want to be the team standing in their way.
Unless of course that team is the All Blacks.
Enjoy the game either way ladies and gentlemen, even if things don’t go your team’s way.
Springboks starting XV (15-1): Willie le Roux, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Siya Kolisi (capt); Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane.
Bench (16-23): Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Marco van Staden, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn.