South Africa’s 27-25 Rugby Championship victory over New Zealand on Saturday at Ellis Park broke a stranglehold the All Blacks have had on world rugby for 22 matches stretching back to 1 December 2012. On that day nearly two years ago Steve Hansen’s side were humbled by England at Twickenham but have not lost since … until Saturday that is. It was also Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s first positive result against the New Zealanders.
This highlights how difficult Meyer’s men have found the going against the Kiwis but also begs the question as to how Meyer’s predecessors fared against the Kiwis. By virtue of having one triumph over the men from the land of the long white cloud, Meyer is already ahead of the likes of John Williams, Ian McIntosh, Carel Du Plessis, Harry Viljoen and Rudolf Straeuli. Save for the latter none of the other four played more than twice against the All Blacks, which makes the statistic unfairly skewed but the facts are the facts. For the record, Straeuli faced New Zealand five times without any success.
Meyer’s maiden win against the New Zealanders puts him level with Kitch Christie and Andre Markgraaff. Christie played the Kiwis once and won the the Rugby World Cup for his troubles but to go on just one match is not a fair reflection. Markfgraaff beat the All Blacks once in five attempts and similar to Meyer by the time the win did arrive its meaning was somewhat diluted.
You might not want to believe it but Peter De Villiers leads the way with five wins against New Zealand although there were six defeats that accompany that achievement. Nick Mallett is the only Bok coach with a positive record against the Kiwis boasting four wins from seven fixtures. The much-lauded Jake White falls behind De Villiers with three wins and six losses to the New Zealanders.
While this makes for interesting reading the only statistic that will really matter is the final outcome of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. That said, it is nice to put one over the old enemy on a regular basis and except for Mallett and De Villiers who managed this roughly half of the time, it is something SA rugby fans are not particularly familiar with.