Boks to conquer Brisbane curse

The Springboks will have to overcome history if they are to beat the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.

Brisbane – whether it be Ballymore or Suncorp Stadium – has not been a happy hunting ground for the Boks over the years. The Boks last beat the Wallabies there in 1971. And they have only ever won twice in eight attempts – the other coming way back in 1956.

Every match since South Africa’s return to international rugby, starting in 1993 has ended with a convincing home victory. Alarmingly the Wallabies seem to love playing the Boks in Brisbane and in the last five matches have not scored less than 28 points in a match.

The smallest margin of victory has been eight points meaning the four tries the Boks scored in 2002 represent the only point from a possible 20 in Vodacom Tri-Nations competition.

The city is also the scene of the biggest ever victory by Australia over South Africa in 73 years of rivalry (32-6 in 1999) – the Boks fourth heaviest defeat in 100 years of Test rugby.

On the plus side, and Brisbane’s records aside, the Boks can boast of a three-match winning streak against their rivals. Since the 30-12 reverse in Sydney last year, the Boks have won in Johannesburg (33-20), Pretoria (22-16) and Perth (22-19).

Victory at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday (kick-off is at 12pm, SA time) will do a number of things for Jake White’s beleaguered team. It will erase the memory of the pumping the French gave them at Newlands and it will also get the Tri-Nations campaign off to a start that would give them a chance of reclaiming their title.

Jake White has brought in two exciting new caps in No 8 Pierre Spies and right wing Akona Ndungane, while just three of the starting XV started the last match against Australia in Brisbane. And only one of them – Victor Matfield – is playing in the same position.

The other two, Joe van Niekerk and Juan Smith played at blindside and No 8 respectively. On Saturday van Niekerk will wear the No 6 jersey and Smith will play blindside flank.

The only other time the Boks played in Brisbane was at the 2003 Rugby World Cup when they samshed Samoa 60-10 in a pool match.

Boks v Wallabies in Brisbane:

1956 Wallabies 0 Boks 9
1965 Wallabies 12 Boks 8
1971 Wallabies 6 Boks 14
1993 Wallabies 28 Boks 20
1997 Wallabies 32 Boks 20
1999 Wallabies 32 Boks 6
2002 Wallabies 38 Boks 27
2003 Wallabies 29 Boks 9

Overall: P 8 W 2 L 6 PF 113 PA 177

By Andrew Hollely