They start their year-end tour against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday but they’ve only won there 3 times in 17 years…
The Springboks begin their tour of Europe and Great Britain on Saturday when they take on Ireland in Dublin.
But it’s a city where South Africa haven’t had the greatest of times and have, in fact, only won there three times in 17 years.
Here’s a walk down memory lane:
2000: Hero Krige’s broken finger (Won 28-18)
The Springboks came off a narrow 37-33 win over Argentina the previous week, where they’re attacking style of play almost came unstuck. They were a little bit more tight in this fixture and it seemed to have paid off after they surged to a 13-0 lead. But legendary Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll sparked a revival and regularly sliced through the Bok defence to level the scores at 18-all. However, Corne Krige (PICTURED) epitomised South Africa’s fighting spirit to make the game safe. He scored a try and even played with a broken finger!
2004: Blind Bakkies … and ref (Lost 12-17)
The Springboks could complain that they were on the receiving end of a shocker of a decision from referee Paul Honiss. The New Zealander had instructed captain John Smit to talk to his players after Joe van Niekerk was penalised for continued hands in the ruck. Smit asked for time to be stopped so that he could do so. Yet just when called his players together, Honiss blew time back on and Ireland flyhalf Ronan O’Gara went over with no defender in sight. It was a crazy sequence of events. That said, the Boks had their chance to win when lock Bakkies Botha chose to go for the tryline himself when wing Breyton Paulse was open.
2006: History of the wrong kind (Lost 15-32)
Despite Jake White’s side showing 11 changes, they still underestimated their hosts and paid the price. This was a disappointing night, especially since the Springboks played in a special commemorative jersey to celebrate the 100th year of the Springbok brand. Ireland’s pack dominated and South Africa’s only highlight was a try on debut for a certain 19-year-old named Frans Steyn (PICTURED).
2009: Record-breakers running on empty (Lost 10-15)
This match was simply a bridge too far for a great Springbok side running on empty. They’d beaten the British and Irish Lions as well as claimed the Tri Nations title but the season had taken its toll. On a cold, misty afternoon, South Africa took a 10-3 lead through a splendid try by Schalk Burger (PICTURED) but then lost their discipline as Ireland flyhalf Jonny Sexton popped over five penalties. Beast Mtawarira had a chance to snatch a win in the dying moments but he was held up in the right hand corner.
2010: Guts and Gio (Won 23-21)
An injury-depleted Bok side wasn’t given much chance in this game given a relatively poor season of results. But they surprised with their dominance throughout and the scoreline was closer than it should’ve been. A host of rookies stood their ground and lock VIctor Matfield led the charge magnificently. One particular highlight was how Pat Lambie, on debut, managed to instigate a superb backline move that led to diminutive fullback Gio Aplon’s try (PICTURED).
2012: Boks’ luck of the Irish (Won 16-12)
Schizophrenic is how you describe this performance. The Springboks were hammered in the first half, conceding no less than 10 penalties as wing JP Pietersen was also yellow carded for a tackle without the ball. As a result, Ireland looked comfortable with a 12-3 lead. Then everything changed. The Boks were composed, only conceded one more penalty and scored 13 unanswered, the highlight being Ruan Pienaar’s dot down under the posts.
2014: Momentum killed (Lost 15-29)
This was a game that was supposed to showcase how the Springboks were rapidly building towards a World Cup charge the following year. In retrospect, it was a defeat that saw them lose momentum and some confidence. Heyneke Meyer’s men dominated territory and possession but they were careless, missing out on numerous opportunities and also getting hammered at the breakdowns. JP Pietersen (PICTURED) managed a try late in the game to narrow what was already a comprehensive margin but the Springboks were rightly criticised for a poor showing.