When Boks ruled the roost at Twickenham
Springboks have played England 21 times at the venue, winning 11, five convincingly
In the 21 matches the Springboks have played against England at Twickenham‚ the venue for Saturday’s 42nd encounter between the sides‚ they have won 11 times. However, there were times the Boks struggled in London.
Here are five matches where the Boks left the venerable stadium attendees in no doubt as to who was the better side.
• England 11 SA 29
November 29 1997
This win‚ engineered by a superb forward display and an electrifying performance at 13 by Andre Snyman‚ was the fifth in SA’s 17-match unbeaten streak that was snapped by England a year later.
1997 was a particularly difficult year for the Boks under Carel du Plessis‚ who not only lost SA’s first British and Irish Lions’ series since 1974‚ but also won only one out of four TriNations matches.
The Boks though were in bristling form under Nick Mallett on this tour. Italy and France were unceremoniously brushed aside before this meeting but England took an early 11-0 lead through two Mike Catt penalties and a Nick Greenstock try.
England though were unable to resist the green wave as tries from Mark Andrews‚ Snyman‚ Adrian Garvey and Werner Swanepoel gave SA their second consecutive Twickenham win after their 24-14 win in 1995.
It was to be SA’s last Twickenham win in nine years.
• England 14 SA 25
November 25 2006
By the second Test of this tour‚ the Boks had long lost the ability to win in London.
The week before‚ they contrived to lose an eminently winnable Test that heaped pressure on Jake White‚ whose 2006 had gone pear-shaped after defeats to New Zealand (two), Australia (two)‚ France‚ Ireland and England.
His job was on the line but Andre Pretorius‚ who played in the record 53-3 hammering four years before‚ found his range with a 20-point haul that finally pushed the Boks past the mental barrier. After the previous week’s heartbreaking 23-21 loss at the same ground‚ the final building blocks for the successful 2007 Rugby World Cup assault were laid. England were to bear the brunt of the Boks’ pent-up frustration with four consecutive defeats in one calendar year.
• England 6 SA 42
November 22 2008
Over the course of 2007 and 2008‚ the Springboks exerted a dominance over England that was unparalleled and striking‚ considering how the Martin Johnson-Clive Woodward axis had the wood over the Boks.
In the five matches after the November 25 Test in 2006‚ England were not only subjected to two 50-point defeats in Bloemfontein and Pretoria‚ but they were kept tryless in three.
While the 36-0 win in the 2007 Rugby World Cup group game entrenched the Boks’ dominance‚ this 36-point win all but sewed up the already existing hegemony.
By this point‚ the Boks under Peter de Villiers had not only found their range after a wobbly Tri-Nations‚ but looked every bit like world champions.
But leading into this game‚ the Boks were far from convincing in wins against Wales (20-15) and Scotland (14-10).
England though were confronted by a runaway Bok train that not only scored five tries through Jacques Fourie‚ Bryan Habana‚ Adrian Jacob‚ Ruan Pienaar and Danie Rossouw‚ but left plenty of points on the park.
Oddly‚ the England side was coached by 2003 World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson‚ who oversaw some Bok crushings as a player.
• England 11 SA 21
November 27 2010
The Boks had a tricky 2010‚ especially with New Zealand and Australia gaining comeuppance after the Springboks’ 2009 domination.
The northern hemisphere sides had lined up Peter de Villiers’ side and the Boks had narrow 23-21 and 29-25 escape against Ireland and England before a 21-17 loss against Scotland grounded them.
This win against England was their most comfortable of the tour as tries from Lwazi Mvovo and Willem Alberts kept a limited England side at bay.
Morné Steyn entrenched the forwards’ dominance with an 11-point contribution from the boot as SA’s Twickenham dominance continued unabated.
• England 28 SA 31
November 15 2014
This win was SA’s 11th in 12 outings against England since 2006‚ but that gave a glimpse of an increasing Springbok vulnerability.
This Stuart Lancastercoached side were not in the best of form‚ but Heyneke Meyer’s Boks were still a bridge too far for them.
Pat Lambie probably had his best Test in a Bok jumper with a 16-point haul. There were tries from Jan Serfontein‚ Cobus Reinach and Schalk Burger but England packed their own punched through Owen Farrell‚ Ben Morgan and David Wilson.
Farrell‚ who captained the England side during their tour this year‚ was a star on the rise at the time and is now an integral part of Eddie Jones’s team.
Morgan has not featured much in Jones’s tenure because of Billy Vunipola’s imposing presence but is back in the squad to provide the sustained physical punch that was missing in June.
This win remains the Boks’ last at Twickenham.