Murrayfield dominance to continue

Apart from four speed bumps in 102 years the Boks have dominated Scotland and should continue to do so tomorrow.

The Scots have talked up their chances – from coaches Frank Hadden and Graham Steadman to players Chris Paterson and Nick da Luca. Although history will have no influence on the result, it does point to this optimism being unfounded.

Scotland’s 2002 victory over the Boks has been cited as a source for a psychological boost the hosts will hold. However, the Boks have played twice at Murrayfield since then, notching up 72 points for and just 13 against – an aggregate score of 36-7. There will be no mental scarring for the Boks from six years ago.

Murrayfield has proved a fruitful stadium for the Boks, the visitors having won there on nine out of 12 occasions, including a six-one rout since re-admission. The Boks will also be looking to make it seven in a row over Scotland.

The consecutive losses in 1965 and 1969 can’t be viewed as surprises as the Boks weren’t in great form and defeats were regular occurrences on those tours. Defeat for the Boks tomorrow however, will be a huge shock.

South Africa aren’t currently in the best of form, but the gulf in class will be evident in Edinburgh.

Keo.co.za looks at four memorable past encounters between the two sides in the Scottish capital.

25 August 2007: Scotland 3-27 Springboks

This was the Boks’ final warm-up for what they had been building for four years – the World Cup. Their performance in brushing Scotland aside sent out an ominous warning to other contenders they would be in the reckoning come 20 October.

The hosts had beaten Ireland two weeks prior to this and Frank Hadden had put his pack on a special conditioning programme to bulk up. Problem was the senior Boks had also been rested by Jake White for the away leg of the Tri-Nations and were put under a similar training regime, and the way they dominated the collisions was a fore-runner for the way things would happen at the showpiece in France.

Their game-plan was also very familiar to the approach for the World Cup. The Boks took opportunities whenever they arose and scored three tries through Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie and Fourie du Preez in a space of six minutes in the first half. Up 24-3 after 28 minutes, the Boks coasted to a victory as their defence never looked threatened.

The continuity in selection was also evident as John Smit was the only change from this starting XV that would contest the final, and this was courtesy of his hamstring injury.

27 November 2004: Scotland 10-45 South Africa

A narrow victory over Wales was followed by two successive defeats at the hands of Ireland and England respectively, had the Boks under pressure to produce against Scotland.

Despite the pressure, coach Jake White made seven changes to the side including debuts for Solly Tyibilika and Gurthro Steenkamp, while after scoring on his debut against England, Bryan Habana got his first start in a Springbok jersey.

South Africa had to overcome 10 minutes without their lock pairing as both Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha were sin binned within seconds of each other.

The Boks lead 25-3 at this point and were able to keep the Scotland at bay despite their numerical advantage.

Scotland were awarded a penalty try, but Habana scored his second intercept try to continue his impressive start to his Springbok career – giving his side a 32-10 lead at the half.

The Boks closed out the game in the second half adding 13 more points to seal a 45-10 victory.

16 November 2002: Scotland 21-6 Springboks

If ever there was a tour from hell, this was it. The Boks lost all three Tests but deciding which of the defeats is most embarrassing is difficult. The record 30-10 defeat to France in the opener, or this 21-6 loss, or the 53-3 hiding at the hands of the English – take your pick. History was being broken at a rapid rate, but for none of the right reasons for the Boks.

The mauling at Twickenham was disastrous, but the beating at the hands of the Scots can be viewed in a similar light. Although Rudolf Straeuli had made 10 changes to the France match and played a weakened line-up, the Boks were never expected to lose at Murrayfield. The Boks were under siege and Straeuli responded by putting the players through an intensive week of training – described by some as the toughest of their careers.

But if you look at some of the players who received Bok caps that day, it tells the story why the Scots claimed their first South African scalp in 33 years. Prop Wessel Roux, lock Marco Wentzel, flank Pierre Uys and wing Friedrich Lombard would be front-runners to make a fictitious “worst Bok XV ever”.

The Scots didn’t produce a stellar performance and claimed two dubious tries, but they were simply better than an inept Bok side. It was a black day for Springbok rugby, while someone like flyhalf Andre Pretorius will also not be digging into the archives to watch recordings of this one again.

6 December 1997: Scotland 10-68 South Africa

South Africa ended their European tour in emphatic style as they crushed Scotland at Murrayfield in a game that to this day still remains their heaviest defeat.

The Boks scored two first half tries to lead 14-3 at the break, but in the second half Nick Mallett’s side put their foot down and steamrolled the hapless Scots – running in a further eight tries with some brilliant running rugby.

James Small scored two tries. The winger broke down and had to be substituted after his second, which broke the then national record of Danie Gerber’s (19 tries). Percy Montgomery also bagged a brace on his way to a 26 point haul, while debutant Franco Smith scored his first try, coming on for the injured Jannie de Beer in the first half.

South Africa scored almost at will in the second half with all three of the loose trio (Rassie Erasmus, André Venter and Gary Teichmann) touching down as Scotland were battered into submission. The win was the sixth in the Springboks’ world record-equaling run of 17 consecutive Test victories.

Results down the years:

1906: Scotland won 6-0 at Hampden Park, Glasgow
1912: South Africa won 16-0 at Inverleith
1932: South Africa won 6-3 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1951: South Africa won 44-0 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1960: South Africa won 18-10 at Boet Erasmus, Port Elizabeth
1961: South Africa won 12-5 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1965: Scotland won 8-5 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1969: Scotland won 6-3 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1994: South Africa won 34-10 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1997: South Africa won 68-10 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1998: South Africa won 35-10 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1999: South Africa won 46-29 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2002: Scotland won 21-6 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2003: South Africa won 29-25 at Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2003: South Africa won 28-19 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
2004: South Africa won 45-10 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2006: South Africa won 29-15 at Boet Erasmus, Port Elizabeth
2006: South Africa won 36-16 at Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2007: South Africa won 27-3 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh

By Grant Ball and Andrew Worling