South Africa: Springboks Vs All Blacks - Rivalry and Respect At the Heart of 100-Year War

analysis

The Springboks haven't beaten the All Blacks twice in a season since 2009 and haven't held the Freedom Cup - the trophy awarded to the winner of this mini series after each Rugby Championship - in 12 long years.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Back in 2009, South Africa was a different place. Social media platforms such as Twitter were in their infancy and smartphones weren't as prevalent as they are today. State Capture was still a twinkle in the newly elected Jacob Zuma's eye.

Back then, the Springboks were world champions, Tri-Nations champions and winners of the series against the British & Irish Lions. The Blitzboks were World Rugby Sevens Series champions while the Bulls were Super Rugby champions.

The good times didn't last, though. The Boks surrendered the Tri-Nations title the following season, and failed to defend the World Cup in 2011.

By contrast, the New Zealand Rugby Union learned from the All Blacks' three straight losses to the Springboks in 2009. They worked hard to implement new structures and strategies at a regional and international level.

The All Blacks proceeded to win eight Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship titles and two World Cups over the next...

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