Are you obsessed with the Springboks? Think you know everything green-and-gold inside out?
Well, perhaps you might be a little surprised by some of these stats, facts and records below.
10) 774 players have been capped by the Springboks
This number is significantly smaller than most of South Africa’s rivals, but much of this has to do with the years the country was isolated from rugby’s biggest tournaments and tours because of its continued policy of apartheid. With the ending of this came a new era for rugby in the country. However, this relatively small number of players helps you to understand why so many individuals treasure the green and gold jersey.
9) Morne Steyn has scored more points against the All Blacks than any other player
In his twelve matches against New Zealand, Steyn has scored 124 points including a try, 10 conversions, 31 penalties and 2 drop goals. In second place is Percy Montgomery on 106 and Joel Stransky in third on 54.
8) South Africa really miss the old EPRU Stadium
What was formerly known as the Boet Erasmus Stadium was a happy hunting ground for the men in green and gold, with the Springboks winning 14 of their 16 games there, as well as a draw. The Port Elizabeth ground saw victories against New Zealand, Australia, England, France, the Lions and more in its wonderful history between 1960 and 2006. However, the stadium was closed with the arrival of the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
7) The Springboks enjoy their trips up to Scotland
In the 17 matches that have been played up at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, South Africa has won 14 of those. Despite losses to the Scots in 2010 and 2002, 2013’s test saw the visitors run out comfortable 28 – 0 winners.
6) South Africa has the best record against the All Blacks in New Zealand
With nine wins in their 42 tests against the Kiwis, South Africa’s 23.8% win or draw ratio is the best in the world when it comes to beating New Zealand in New Zealand. Australia has won more tests with 17, but also lost 62 – putting their ratio at 21.87%. France is the pick of the northern hemisphere teams with a win ratio of just 14.28%.
5) Bryan Habana loves scoring against England
In the 12 tests he has played against the Red Rose, Habana has scored six tries – including a memorable effort off the bench for his first cap. During England’s ill-fated tour of South Africa in 2007, Habana scored a brace in each test. Danie Gerber is next in line with four tries in three tests against the English.
4) South Africa has had 21 draws in its test history
Two came in the same year in 2012 with both England and Argentina drawing, the former in Port Elizabeth and the latter in Mendoza. In its history as a rugby power, South Africa has drawn three tests against the All Blacks: in 1921, 1960 and 1994.
3) The Springboks find it easy to score tries against Australia
In 81 games the South Africans have scored 186 tries against the Wallabies, or 2.3 tries a game. In contrast against England, South Africa has scored 72 tries in 37 tests or 1.9 tries a match.
2) South Africa let the red mist descend quite often
In its history, South Africa has seen eight players red carded, with the first being James Small and the most recent Bismarck du Plessis. They certainly don’t mind seeing yellow either, with 56 players having received yellow cards. You may be surprised to learn that winger Bryan Habana is the worst culprit with seven yellows and Schalk Burger in second with six.
1) Just 56 players have captained South Africa
Victor Matfield won 17 of the 23 tests he captained and Gary Teichmann 26 of his 36 matches, but former scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen also had a brief but very successful stint as captain – he won eight of the 10 games he was captain.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena