The 2023 Rugby World Cup final marks the 11th meeting between the Springboks and All Blacks since the appointment of Rassie Erasmus in 2018, South Africa having won four and drawing once.
2018: New Zealand 34 Springboks 36
In Erasmus’ first experience of the haka as Bok coach, he was at the helm of a team stuck in a six-game slump against the All Blacks, including 57-0 and 57-15 defeats in 2017 and 2016. The Springboks went into the game in Wellington on the back of successive away losses to Argentina and Australia, while New Zealand had comfortably beaten Australia twice and thrashed Argentina. Beauden Barrett sliced a conversion as the Boks held on for the win.
2018: Springboks 30 New Zealand 32
2019: New Zealand 16 Springboks 16
As the Springboks prepared for the 2019 World Cup, Erasmus decided to split an enlarged Rugby Championship squad, sending a bulk of players to New Zealand in the opening round to prepare for the following week’s clash with the All Blacks. The players who remained in South Africa steered the Boks to a bonus-point win over the Wallabies in Pretoria, while the All Blacks survived a late comeback attempt from the Pumas in Bueno Aires.
2019: New Zealand 23 Springboks 13
Despite ending in defeat, the World Cup Pool B opener in Yokohama put Erasmus’ Boks on the path to make history.
2021: New Zealand 19 Springboks 17 (Queensland)
2021: Springboks 31 New Zealand 29
Guiding the Springboks from afar as director of rugby, Erasmus saw the historic 100th Test between the two rivals end in a narrow loss in Queensland. In the return game on the Gold Coast, the Springboks produced a comeback effort for the ages.
2022: Springboks 26 New Zealand 10
The derby moved to Mbombela for the first time in the 2022 Rugby Championship opener, with the Boks returning to the north-east of South Africa for the first time since 2016. A historic day for the hosts saw the Springboks win their first home game against New Zealand since 2014, claiming a then-biggest-ever victory over their rivals.
2022: Springboks 23 New Zealand 35 (Ellis Park)
2023: New Zealand 35 Springboks 20
Having successfully avenged their record defeat at Mbombela Stadium in 2022 when the teams met at Ellis Park one week later, the All Blacks welcomed the Springboks to New Zealand for the first time since 2019. However, the game would be far from friendly for the Boks, with a fired-up All Blacks side flying out of the blocks early to earn a comfortable victory.
2023: Springboks 35 New Zealand 7
The most recent meeting between the rivals came as both teams finalised their preparation for the 2023 World Cup with a warm-up at Twickenham. Erasmus pulled off a surprise, by naming seven forwards on South Africa’s bench, with scrumhalf Cobus Reinach the only substitute back. The trick came off spectacularly, as the Springboks handed New Zealand their heaviest-ever defeat (28 points), built on pure dominance from the pack.
Photo: MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP