The Boks' unwanted year-end records
SPOTLIGHT: The Siyamthanda Kolisi-captained world champions South Africa hope to extend a winning run over France and end losing streaks against Ireland and England when they tour Europe.
The Springboks have won their last three Tests in France, most recently four years ago when they snatched a 29-26 victory through a late Mbongeni Mbonambi pushover try.
A year earlier South Africa suffered a second straight loss in Ireland when humiliated 38-3, partly due to an inability to cope with an aerial barrage.
Results in London have been even more depressing.
When South Africa tackles England at Twickenham on November 26 they will be trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss there.
The Springboks play Ireland (on Saturday, November 5), France (November 12), Italy (November 19) and England on consecutive Saturdays as they seek consistency after six victories and three losses this season.
South Africa was brilliant when defeating arch-rivals New Zealand 26-10 in the opening round of the Rugby Championship and woeful soon after in a 17-25 loss to Australia in Adelaide.
They won four of their six matches to finish second behind the All Blacks in the Southern Hemisphere tournament.
The Springboks also edged plucky Wales 2-1 in a mid-year series.
“We had some great moments in the Rugby Championship and also some weak moments,” said 2019 World Cup-winning skipper and loose forward Kolisi.
“The Springboks can win against any side in the world on our day,” he added, recalling the Malcolm Marx-inspired demolition of New Zealand in Mbombela.
“After our awful showing in Adelaide, we took a big step forward by winning in Sydney and then twice against Argentina, who had stunned the All Blacks earlier in the championship.”
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Kolisi added: “There are a lot of good Test teams at the moment so three victories in a row was a great achievement.
“Now we head for Europe to face the teams ranked first [Ireland], second [France] and fifth [England] in the world.
“Obviously, we want to win all four Tests because that will give us momentum going into the 2023 World Cup in France.
“We will face Ireland at the pool stage, could meet France in the quarterfinals and possibly England later in the competition.”
South Africa flew to Dublin at the weekend without several first choices, including centre Lukhanyo Am and flyhalf Handre Pollard, who are both injured.
More cheerful news for head coach Jacques Nienaber was the return of star winger Cheslin Kolbe, who broke his jaw against Wales.
Given the embarrassment of riches on the right wing, there has been media speculation that Kolbe will be moved to fullback.
With Pollard recovering from a knee operation and deputy Elton Jantjies sidelined by lack of game time and personal problems, utility back Damian Willemse is likely to start at flyhalf.
Creative Willemse impressed in wins over Australia in Sydney and Argentina in Buenos Aires before concussion ruled him out of the return match with the Pumas.
His one flaw is erratic goal-kicking as he is only the third choice in that vital function at his franchise, the Stormers.
There have been media hints that another Springbok, possibly scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, will be first in line to take conversions and penalties.