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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Springboks' great Cup record
South Africa have lost just one Rugby World Cup match.

Because of apartheid and the associated sporting boycotts, the Springboks have only contested two tournaments.

The first came on home soil in 1995, an historic occasion for South Africa after years in the rugby wilderness.

WORLD CUP RECORD
Joel Stransky with South Africa coach Gysie Pienaar in 1995
Played 12 - W:11 L:1
1987: Did not participate
1991: Did not participate
1995: Winners
1999: Third
And four years ago they were only denied by Australia at the semi-final stage, in a sensational match at Twickenham.

Having been welcomed back into the rugby fraternity three years earlier, South Africa came to the 1995 World Cup with only nine wins from their 22 matches over the course of the preceding two years.

More significantly, in that time they had only beaten Australia once and have never overcome New Zealand.

But come the crunch they came up trumps against all comers, including the southern hemisphere heavyweights, the previous World Cup winners.

After an opening ceremony that included president Nelson Mandela embracing a sport with deep associations to apartheid, South Africa began with victory over Australia.

Fly-half Joel Stransky stole the show with 17 points and the tournament was given the perfect start.

The next great challenge for Francois Pienaar's team came in the semi-finals at a drenched Durban.

A waterlogged pitch saw the match against France delayed by 90 minutes as a mopping-up operation was put in motion.

And after 90 minutes of rugby, the Springboks were almost put to the sword.

Frenchman everywhere swore blind that Abdelatif Benazzi, having pounced on a loose ball, scored a late winning try, but referee Derek Bevan did not see it that way, judging the number eight to have fallen short of the line.

And so to the final and a tense, tactical battle against the heralded All Blacks which came down to the boot of two fly-halves.

It was Stransky who struck the winning drop-goal in extra-time, giving South Africa a famous win at the first attempt and leaving the much-fancied New Zealanders to complain about tales of food poisoning.

Four years on, South Africa's campaign again came down to drop-goals.

In their quarter-final in Paris, Jannie de Beer landed a world record five drop-goals to knock the stuffing out of the English.

But in the next round the boot was on the other foot, De Beer missing four of five drop-goal attempts, while his opposite number, Australia's Stephen Larkham, landed a sensational 50-metre effort in extra-time.





Links to more South Africa stories


 

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