Every four years South Africans across the globe come together to don their green-and-gold and support the Springboks, hoping to cheer them on to win the final match of the Rugby World Cup. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, for the 80 minutes that our team is playing, nothing else matters – everyone switches on their tellies at the same time across the world to catch the Springboks play in the Rugby World Cup and what an exciting championship it’s been thus far!
Let’s go back in time and review some of the most memorable Rugby World Cup moments for the Bokke!
1995: The one where England looks set to win, but South Africa swoops in and steals the thunder at the last minute.
- Chester Williams getting hurt before the Cup and excluded from the squad.
- Pieter Hendricks making the legendary David Campese look like a chump to score our first RWC try in 1995.
- The Battle for Boet Erasmus that saw James Dalton and Pieter Hendricks sent home as a result of off-the-ball skirmishes against Canada.
- Chester Williams is later added back to squad for quarter final clash against Samoa, scoring four tries in the game to secure the Springboks’ place in the finals.
- James Small stopping Jonah Lomu in a tackle, even though it meant he spent the rest of the game in a bit of a dwaal.
- Last minute kick by Joel Stransky that became the most famous drop kick in rugby history, giving the Boks a 15-12 lead and a narrow victory over England against all odds.
- President Mandela handing the Webb Ellis trophy over to Springbok Captain, Francois Pienaar: the moment that united a newly democratic nation.
1999: The one with many dropkicks but no trophies for South Africa.
- Jannie de Beer drop kicking five goals to obliterate England and literally boot the English out of the tournament by 44 points to 21.
- One of the most remarkable aspects of de Beer’s booting excellence is the ridiculously consistent length of his efforts. All but the fourth were catapulted from around the ten-metre line.
2003: The one where we didn’t win, but we came together spectacularly anyway.
- The heartfelt togetherness that comes from shared humanity – the iconic visual of South Africa and Samoa kneeling together in prayer after the match – legend has it they were giving thanks that Derick Hougaard wasn’t completely flattened off the face of the earth by Brian Lima.
- Samoan centre Brian Lima showed us exactly why he was known as ‘The Chiropractor’ with a power-packed, bone-jarring tackle on the South African stand-off.
- Saying goodbye to Joost van der Westhuizen in the quarter finals, on the heels of scoring an impressive hat-trick against Uruguay earlier in the tournament.
2007: The one where South Africa wins 15-6 against England in Paris.
- Percy Montgomery finishing the tournament as the top points-scorer with 105 points, Bryan Habana racking up eight tries and equalling Jonah Lomu’s World Cup record and 20-year-old Steyn becoming the youngest player to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup.
2015: The one where we are completely flabbergasted to be beaten by Japan in Brighton.
- Japanese player Karne Hesketh diving over in the corner in the final moments of the game to snatch a supposedly impossible triumph from the Springboks.
- The winning try against Wales in the quarter-finals was undisputedly the Boks’ finest moment at the Rugby World Cup, delivered by South African captain Fourie du Preez.
- After a narrowly thrashing by the All Blacks, 20-18 in the semis, their centre Sonny Bill Williams was snapped consoling South African counterpart, Jesse Kriel, imparting a few words of comfort and a sportsmanlike hug, before hoisting him to his feet.
Which takes us up to the present day in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Soon, the Springboks will face off against the Welsh, battling it out to secure a place in the Rugby World Cup final. Having competed against each other in since 1906 in various rugby union matches, of the 35 games played to date, the Springboks have emerged victorious 28 times, drawing one match and losing only six times to Wales. Between the two sides, they are the only team to have won an away match, 15 of which were won in Wales!
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