Sport Staff
3 minute read
6 Sep 2017
3:43 pm

The Springboks can’t just rely on ‘Perthfontein’ to win

Sport Staff

Saturday's Test against Australia is supposed to feel like a home fixture but their record in the city is actually pretty dodgy.

Bryan Habana. Gallo Images/Getty Images.

While the Springboks go into Saturday’s Rugby Championship meeting with Australia in Perth with a fair amount of confidence, nothing can be taken for granted.

Despite the isolated city on the west coast being known for it’s big South African expat community, the relative familiarity hasn’t always helped the Springboks.

In fact, Allister Coetzee’s men go into the game having won only three of their eight Tests in Perth.

1998 – Won 14-13

The late Joost van der Westhuizen was the Springboks’ hero as he scored an opportunistic try from a tap penalty in pouring rain.

The Wallabies complain about being distracted by a second ball on the field but they only had themselves to blame.

Fullback Matt Burke missed four of his five kicks as South Africa’s doggedness proved decisive.

2001 – Drew 14-all

It says much about the state of Springboks rugby at that stage that this uninspiring encounter was considered a “win”.

This game was more about character than anything else and South Africa even had to contend with two yellow cards for captain and No 8 Bob Skinstad as well as flyhalf Butch James.

Unassuming centre Braam van Straaten looked to have sealed a win with a penalty before the Boks conceded again in the dying moments.

2004 – Lost 26-30

By all means this was a brilliant encounter.

The Springboks’ attacking verve was illustrated by two superb kicks forward that were rounded off by flyhalf Jaco van der Westhuyzen and replacement Gaffie du Toit.

But the Wallabies had the last laugh when former Junior Springboks skipper Clyde Rathbone scored in the corner to break his former countrymen’s hearts.

2005 – Won 22-19

This victory was the Springboks at their counterattacking best under then coach Jake White.

They didn’t make much of the play and had to pretty much just keep the home side out.

Twice though the Wallabies conceded turnovers close to the tryline, allowing the flying Bryan Habana to twice score from 85m out.

2008 – Lost 9-16

The Springboks created numerous try-scoring opportunities in this game but they were let down by shocking handling.

No 8 Pierre Spies actually had butterfingers with an open tryline in front of him.

Australia were opportunistic in scoring their two tries and kept stealing Springboks ball at the breakdowns.

2009 – Won 32-25

In the build-up to this game, Peter de Villiers’ rampant Springboks were criticised for playing boring, risk-free (but winning) rugby.

Satisfyingly, South Africa delivered a brilliant sucker punch on the complaining Aussies.

They produced magnificent running rugby on the night, with Habana claiming a brace.

Only some slack defending late on narrowed the winning margin.

2012 – Lost 19-26

Habana’s predatory instincts had given the Springboks a comfortable 13-3 lead before they lost control of the game.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn’s poor tactical kicking and defence put the visitors under pressure as the Wallabies came roaring back.

The general impression though was that South Africa again cooked a defeat against them by their own means instead of the Australians actually being better than them.

2014 – Lost 23-24

Another outing, another Steyn blunder.

With just two minutes left, the Springboks pivot was asked to kick a relieving penalty to touch.

But he tried to be too ambitious and missed his mark, allowing the Wallabies to score a match-winner through centre Rob Horne in extra time.

It really shouldn’t have come down to that.