Friday, July 24, 2009
This weekend in Bloemfontein the Springboks will host the All Blacks as another chapter of their story continues. It has been called the greatest rivalry in rugby, as the history between the two sides is filled with fierce competition and intense battles.
"When South Africa plays New Zealand, consider your country at war," said legendary Springbok Boy Louw when speaking to his team ahead of a Test against New Zealand in 1949.
In both countries, the game is like a religion, with the long running fight for supremacy a thing of legend. This fascinating ESPN Classic documentary looks at what is arguably the greatest duel in Rugby, the Springboks vs the All Blacks.
It is broken up into six parts with the first going back to the history of both countries, covering how rugby came to be, and how it came to prominence in different sectors.
Off the field, in the trenches, rivalry was formed and following successful tours to Britain, the world knew that these two sides needed to meet. It happened for the first time in 1921.
The Springboks were unbeaten in a series until 1956 when they arrived in New Zealand to much hype as fans were desperate to meet the players from South Africa.
On the field, the All Blacks took the first Test in the perfect start for the country. With Danie Craven in charge of the Boks though, they had an amazing leader and motivator, which helped them to take the second.
It was one of the dirtiest and toughest Tests between the two sides, with SA coming out tops. By the time the third Test came around, NZ demanded success, so they made big changes, including bringing in prodigious kicker Don Clarke.
The Springboks had one of the most powerful forward packs in the world, with a highly dominant and intimidating front row. So New Zealand brought in Kevin Skinner, a former heavyweight boxer. His impact was immediate, as Chris Koch found out in no uncertain terms.
We'll post the next three parts for you soon.