On this Friday 17 years ago I was running alongside the beach in Manly, Sydney. The 2003 Rugby World Cup was just about at an end. There were two matches to go. The bronze medal match between New Zealand and France was scheduled for that night, November 20. The final was two days away. Australia against England.

The Springboks had left Australia 12 days before, well beaten by the All Blacks in Melbourne. It was expected and brought to an end a wretched time for the Boks in Australia. They came, they saw and they were conquered, as much by themselves and a confused, paranoid cloud that had settled over them and refused to budge. ..

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now