Highveld haven

The Springboks have a formidable record at Ellis Park and have lost only once against the Lions at the famous ground.

There have been some memorable matches between the two sides at the ground since 1938, with the Boks winning three, drawing two and ending up on the wrong side of the scoreboard on the solitary occasion.

The Boks’ win record at the stadium against all opposition stands at over 70% and includes their best performance at home in 2008 when they demolished the Australians 53-8, as well as being the scene where the World Cup and Tri-Nations were secured in 1995 and 1998.

The current tourists will have happy memories of Ellis Park as they annihilated the Golden Lions 74-10 just over a month ago, but they will realise this will be more than a level up.

6 August 1938 – Boks 26 Lions 12

The Boks produced one of their most memorable performances when Danie Craven led them in front of the biggest crowd ever to view the Lions (36 000).

The match was exemplified by top-class kicking from Welshman Vivian Jenkins and Gerry Brand, but the Boks scored all four tries in the encounter.

Dai Williams, Fanie Louw, and Tony Harris crossed before Williams again scored in the last movement of the match as the hosts took a 1-0 lead (they eventually won 2-1).

6 August 1955 – Boks 22 Lions 23

This was the first Test in an eventually drawn four-Test series played in front of a crowd estimated at between 90-100 000. After the tour this Lions side were labelled the best side to come to South Africa in 59 years, but this match will only be remembered for Jack van der Schyff’s miss.

The Bok fullback was playing his first Test in six seasons and the Lions were easing to a victory leading 23-11. However, tries from left wing Sias Swart, prop Chris Koch and then right wing Theuns Briers made it 23-22.

Van der Schyff’s conversion would be the decider, but he dragged it to the left and as he hung his head in disappointment, the photo captured is one of the most memorable of Bok/Lions series.

Van der Schyff was dropped for the next Test and would never play for the Boks again.

23 June 1962 – Springboks 3 Lions 3

In a low-scoring match in the series opener, 73 000 fans were treated to a tight and tense affair.

The centres could only get onto the scoreboard as Ken Jones’s try was canceled out by John Gainsford’s great effort. The burly Bok No 12 outpaced wing Niall Brophy and then swerved past John Willcox on his way to the line as the sides remained deadlocked heading into the second clash.

The Boks would eventually triumph 3-0 in the series.

27 July 1968 – Springboks 19 Lions 6

The Boks confirmed their dominance with a victory in the final Test as they won 3-0 in the four-match series.

The Boks produced their best rugby of the series as they scored tries through Mannetjies Roux, Syd Nomis, Jan Ellis and Eben Olivier. Roux was on particularly good form and although the visitors were humbled, a few would return six years later to restore their pride.

Of the squad Willie John McBride and Gareth Edwards would return, while Gerald Davies would go on to manage the side, while Jim Telfer would later coach the team.

27 July 1974 – Boks 13 Lions 13

A draw in the final Test was the best result for the Boks in the series as they were embarrassed 3-0.

Peet Cronje scored the Boks’ only try of the series, but this was countered by Andy Irvine and Roger Uttley’s scores.

The final moments were scarred by Phil Bennett hurling abuse at referee Max Baise for his decisions, but it was still a successful series for McBride’s men.

28 June 1997 – Springboks 35 Lions 16

The hosts headed into the final Test 2-0 down but they restored a degree of pride as they emerged deserved winners.

The Boks were made to rue poor goal-kicking in the first two Tests, but Jannie de Beer was brought in as he kicked 13 points. The Boks continued their try-scoring dominance as Joost van der Westhuizen, Percy Montgomery, Pieter Rossouw and Andre Snyman all crossed, as opposed to the solitary try from Matt Dawson.

The points scored in the match eclipsed the highest ever by the Boks against the Lions, beating the 34 in the fourth Test in 1962.

Neil Jenkins continued to be the Lions’ greatest danger as he scored 11 points, to take his total to 41 in the series – a record for the tourists.