Scots and Springboks make records
The match between Scotland and South Africa this Saturday will be the 27th between the two countries who have, in their meetings, made history in a rugby way.
They first met in 1906. It was the first Test of Paul Roos’s team’s tour. That made it the very first Test that South Africa had played against a single nation, the first Test they had ever played outside of South Africa.
There was no Murrayfield at that time, and they played at Hampden Park, the famous soccer ground in Glasgow, and a record rugby crowd of 32 000 came to watch the match as pipers brought the teams onto the field as the rain pelted down – “gran’ weether for drooning the Springboks”.
In those days and for many years to come, dribbling was a great art for forwards and often the cry went up “Feet, Scotland, feet. Defending against flaying boots took great courage, and fullback Alf Marsberg was knocked unconscious, apparently for 15 minutes, and left the field. Wing Anton Stegmann was also knocked unconscious and Dietloff Maré had two fingers broken but played on in days when there were no replacements.
The Springboks spent most of the match defending. There was no score at half time but in the second half, 18-year-old Kenneth MacLeod and Alexander Purvis scored tries, Scotland winning 6-0.
In 1912, the Scottish Test was the first Test of the tour. This time the Springboks won 16-0 scoring four tries.
For the first time there were three brothers in a Test team – Dick, Freddie and John Luyt. In June 2018, the Barrett brothers – Beauden, Scott and Jordie – played in the same Test against France.
The 1932 match between Scotland and South Africa was the first between the two countries played at Murrayfield, which was opened in 1925, and it was played in the worst weather possible with sleet driven by a gale force win. South Africa won 6-3, two tries to one. Bennie Osler and Danie Craven scored South Africa’s tries, Harry Lind Scotland’s. Conversions were not possible as the gale blew the ball away as soon as it was placed.
The Massacre of Murrayfield. In 1951, the Scotland Test was again the first of the series for Basil Kenyon’s Springboks. The weather was fine and on that day the Springboks broke their own record for the highest score in a Test by beating Scotland 44-0. They scored nine tries, of which Okey Geffin converted seven. In fact of the 44 points that day, forwards scored 38. The previous world record had been 38 points, when the Springboks beat Ireland in 1912.
There were firsts again in 1960. Scotland became the first team to come on a short tour of South Africa. In fact it was the very first short tour sanctioned by the International Rugby Board. Des van Jaarsveldt became the first Rhodesian to play for South Africa and in addition he was the captain. In 2018 Van Jaarsveldt was the oldest living Springbok.
The Test was the first played at Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth. South Africa’s won an unimpressive 18-10, four tries to two.
On their Grand Slam tour of 1960-61, the Springboks beat Scotland 12-5 in a lively match, but Scotland won the next two encounters.
After Scotland had come on a short tour of South Africa, Ireland did in like manner. The Springboks reciprocated with a short tour of Ireland and Scotland in 1965, the worst year ever in South African rugby as they strung together an ignominious sequence of seven successive defeats.
On the short tour they played five matches and did not win a single one, drawing one and losing four including the Tests against Ireland and Scotland. Scotland won 8-5, the difference being a dropped goal by David Chisholm.
Scotland won again when their forwards dominated in the demo tour of 1969-70 on which the Springboks lost to Scotland and England and drew with Ireland and Wales.
In 1997, the Springboks posted their highest score against Scotland, winning 68-10. They scored 10 tries to one. Percy Montgomery and James Small each scored two tries. Small’s second try was a present from Montgomery who had a clear run to the line but passed to Small who scored his 19th Test try, thus passing Danie Gerber’s record. Small was delighted and immediately spun off the field to let Justin Swart to play out the match. Montgomery and Small had discussed the possible record for Small and Montgomery had promised he would help him to get it.
The Springboks had a rotten tour at the end of 2002, thumped by France (30-10), Scotland (21-6) and England 53-3 on a disgraceful day for Springbok rugby. Scotland’s win at Murrayfield was their biggest victory over the Springboks ever.
The last time Scotland beat South Africa they killed off the South Africans’ hopes of a Grand Slam in 2010. They beat Ireland, Wales and England but lost to Scotland who did not score a try. Six penalty goals and a dropped goal, all scored by flyhalf Dan Parks.
Will there be more history made this Saturday at Murrayfield?
Results of Matches between Scotland and South Africa
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 28-19 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
2003: South Africa won 29-25 at Kings Park Stadium, Durban
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
2008: South Africa won 14-10 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2010: Scotland won 21-17 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2012: South Africa won 21-10 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2013: South Africa won 28-0 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2013: South Africa won 30-17 at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
2014: South Africa won 55-6 at N. Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth
2015: South Africa won 34-16 at St James Park, Newcastle
South Africa have played Scotland 26 times, winning 21 and losing five.