The Springboks and England have played some memorable World Cup matches. JOHN GOLIATH looks back the four clashes between Saturday’s finalists at the 2019 showpiece event.
1999 World Cup quarter-final: South Africa 44 England 21
This game will be remembered for the best drop-kicking display of all time. Bok flyhalf Jannie de Beer kicked five dropped goals, many of them from way outside the England 22, which crippled the opposition. But many people forget the contribution of star scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen, who not only found De Beer with crisp passes, but also finished off a crucial try that gave the Boks a 16-12 lead at the break. Ironically, the Boks lost the semi-final against Australia following a ‘fluke’ drop-kick on the run by Wallabies flyhalf Steven Larkham.
2003 World Cup Pool match: England 25 South Africa 6
Springboks coach Rudolf Straeuli warned England that the Boks were going to bounce back following their humiliating 53-3 defeat at the hands of the English in November 2012. But England put in a workman-like performance to beat a South African side that will arguably go down as the worst Bok team at a World Cup. Jonny Wilkinson kicked four penalties and two drop goals, while Will Greenwood scored the only try of the match after Lewis Moody charged down a Louis Koen kick. England went on to win their one and only World Cup title
2007 World Cup pool stage: South Africa 36 England 0
This clash will go down as the Fourie du Preez match, as the scrumhalf produced a tactical masterclass to down the English. But it was also one of the most disciplined Bok performances, as they managed to complete the first half without conceding a single penalty. The Bok pack was ruthless, but it was Du Preez’s vision and educated right boot that helped the Boks win the game and top their group. Wing JP Pietersen scored a brace of tries, while Juan Smith also followed up a Du Preez break to dot down. Percy Montgomery was also lethal from the kicking tee.
2007 World Cup final: South Africa 15 England 6
The big guns’ wheels came off the in the quarter-finals, with the All Blacks going down to France in a thriller and England beating Australia 12-10. The Boks beat Fiji in the quarters, before dispatching of Argentina. England then stunned France in the semis to setup an unlikely second meeting against the Boks in the final. However, they would suffer the same fate as in their pool meeting with the Boks, as Victor Matfield’s master class at the lineout and Montgomery’s accurate goal-kicking paying a big role. Frans Steyn also kicked a long-range penalty. But the match will be remembered for Danie Rossouw’s crucial tackle on Mark Cueto, which saved a certain try.