Battle of the Giants: SA v NZ, Part 3
It is a rivalry that has been going on for the best part of a century – the battle for the No.1 ranking of the world. This is Part Three in the Battle of the Giants.
In this episode we look at the infamous 1956 series, when New Zealand brought heavyweight boxer Kevin Skinner out of retirement.
Although the Kiwis will never admit it publicly, Skinner himself admitted his main task was to 'intimidate'.
He did so in brutal fashion – tactics that still rankles with the Springboks to this day.
The year 1956 was a memorable one for New Zealand, for that was their first series victory against the arch rivals – South Africa.
In the modern era of annual competitions, it is easy to overlook the infrequency of major tours throughout the first half of the 20th century: when the Springboks arrived in 1956, it had been 19 years since their previous visit.
New Zealand and South Africa stood apart as giants of the rugby world; series between the two proud nations effectively amounted to world championship contests and, to that point, the advantage lay firmly with the Springboks, who had won 10 of the 14 matches against the All Blacks, including all but one at home.
Historically, the All Blacks had it over every other rugby nation: both on the field and in the minds of fans and aspiring players, the Springboks were the great adversary of New Zealand rugby.
The All Blacks had split the opening two Tests, in Dunedin and Wellington.
They opted to draft in Kevin Lawrence Skinner, who 'settled' the matter for the hosts in a manner that has been frowned upon ever since. With Skinner letting his fists do the talking the All Blacks won the third Test 17-10 in Christchurch and the last 11-5 in Auckland.
Sit back and enjoy!