Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
3 minute read
14 Nov 2018
8:18 pm

Four memorable Springbok moments at Murrayfield

Heinz Schenk

The pickings have been a bit slimmer in recent years as the Scots have become more competitive, but the hallowed venue certain has had it's Green-and-Gold triumphs.

Ollie Le Roux of South Africa heads for the tryline during the Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Scotland played at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland. The game finished in a 46-29 win for South Africa. Mandatory Credit: David Rogers /Allsport

There’s a reason why the Springboks are treating Saturday’s Test against Scotland at Murrayfield with caution.

Times haven’t been fruitful for them since the turn of the millennium in the Scottish capital and they’ve actually lost two of their five encounters there.

One win, in 2008, was only by 14-10.

However, an overall win record of 21 victories from 26 meetings means there have been some golden moments for South African rugby at the hallowed venue.

Here are four of them.

1951 – The Bok front-row are point machines!

J. Rand of South Africa gets the ball from a line-out during his team’s match against Scotland at Murrayfield, 24th November 1951. South Africa (in dark strip) won the match 44-0. Original publication: Picture Post – 5645 – Rugby’s Red Letter Day – pub. November 1951. (Photo by William Vanderson/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On 24 November, the Springboks – under the tutelage of the legendary Danie Craven, recorded a then world record score of 44-0.

To put that into perspective, tries counted only three points at that stage…

Even more impressively, South Africa’s front row scored 23 points on the day – more than half of the final score!

Fleet-footed loosehead prop Chris Koch dotted down for two tries, hooker Willem Delport crossed the whitewash once and tighthead Okey Geffin, who was actually a frontline goal-kicker, converted seven of the nine tries.

1997 – Percy’s gesture

Percy Montgomery of South Africa charges forward during a Springbok tour to Europe match against Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland. South Africa won the match 68-10. Mandatory Credit: Mike Hewitt/Allsport

The Springboks were rampant on the tour under a new coach in Nick Mallett.

In this match, South Africa romped to a massive 68-10 triumph, with a new star in fullback Percy Montgomery contributing 26 points.

However, the lasting moment from that match came when Montgomery passed up the chance to break the Boks’ then individual point scoring record of 31 by selflessly passing the ball to wing James Small, who was playing his final Test.

Small was one score away from claiming all-time try-scoring record (temporarily) for the Boks and was promised by Montgomery to be helped should he have anything to do with it.

As things turned out, he did…

1999 – Ollie le Roux, centre par excellence

The Boks didn’t play particularly well in this opening match of their World Cup campaign.

Down 19-18 midway through the second half, South Africa need a moment of inspiration and they found it in cult hero Ollie le Roux.

The prop was invariably used as impact player at the highest level, but even by his standards this was spectacular.

It must be said that the vision of the indomitable Joost van der Westhuizen made it possible as it was his decision to switch from open- to blindside from a ruck that proved crucial.

Still, it was a brilliant score that laid the foundation for a 46-29 win.

2004 – Jaco ‘Naas’ van der Westhuyzen

Jaco Van Der Westhuyzen of South Africa scores a try during the Abbey Autumn Test between Scotland and South Africa at Murrayfield on November 28, 2004 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Gary M.Prior/Getty Images)

Jake White had copped a lot of flak throughout the year for picking the mercurial fullback in the position where he made himself as youngster – flyhalf.

Van der Westhuyzen had his downs, but he was allowed to grow and eventually ended indispensable to the Boks’ cause that year.

Known as a playmaker, the pivot sucker-punched an admittedly clueless Scotland – they still conceded a try despite playing against 13 men at one stage – with three cracking drop goals.

The second, a stupendous strike from almost 50 metres out, stole the show.

He also scored a try to seal a 45-10 win.

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