ANALYSES: New Zealand the 'boneyard' of SA teams
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers are currently on a four-match tour of Australasia, the first South African team to undertake this arduous expedition this season.
New Zealand is, without doubt, the benchmark for all teams and teams from the Republic have not had much success there in recent years.
However, wins in Australia come more facilely and readily.
Jan de Koning turns to the numbers to see how ‘successful’ Mzansi teams have been in Aotearoa and the Land Down Under.
The Lions have been the most successful travellers for the last four years.
Having advanced to the Final for the past three years – two of those in New Zealand – they have played eight matches in Aotearoa since 2015, winning two of those.
They beat the Blues 13-10 in Albany in 2015 and the Chiefs (36-32) in Hamilton in 2016, their last win in the Land of the Silver Fern.
However, it is across the Tasman Sea, in Australia, where the Lions have had their best success.
They have won six of their last seven games Down Under – their 22-27 loss to the Reds in Brisbane their first defeat in the Land of the Southern Cross since 2014.
The Sharks have the next best track record on tour.
They have won two of their last six outings on New Zealand soil – beating the Highlanders 15-14 in Dunedin in 2016 and the Blues (63-40) in Auckland last year.
They have played nine matches in New Zealand since 2015, two of those quarterfinal defeats to the Hurricanes (0-41) in 2016 and the Crusaders (10-40) last year.
In Australia they also have a decent track record, with two wins in their last six matches Down Under – beating the Reds 21-14 in Brisbane in 2015 and the Brumbies 27-22 in Canberra in 2017.
The Stormers – with a reputation, unfairly perhaps, as being unable to win outside South Africa – lost the first match of their current tour when they went down 28-34 to the Hurricanes in Wellington at the weekend.
They last won in New Zealand in 2013, when they beat the Hurricanes 18-16, in Palmerston North.
It does not bode well for this week, when they meet the Blues in a Round Sevens encounter at Eden Park in Auckland.
However, the Stormers have won four of their last five matches in Australia – losing (27-34) to the Waratahs in Sydney last year.
The Bulls have also not won in New Zealand since 2013 – when they beat the Blues 28-21 in Auckland.
In contrast to the Stormers, the Bulls have won just one of their last six matches in Australia – demolishing the Western Force 42-20 in Perth in 2016.
It is clear that to have any hope of not just reaching the play-offs, but perhaps hosting a quarterfinal, semifinal and Final, teams have to win in New Zealand and Australia.
By Jan de Koning