Springboks World Cup glories and woes

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The Springboks will look to bring back pride, hope and belief in South African National teams as they will embark on the final World Cup of the year in September.

The nation in 2019 has been left with heart aches following Banyana Banyana in their first ever World Cup appearance, the Proteas choking at the grandest stage again and Bafana Bafana being knockout at the quarter finals of the AFCON tournament. South Africans will now unite as a nation one more time as the Springboks will look to go and win the Webb Ellis trophy in Japan.

The Springboks are no strangers when it comes to going all the way in World Cups as they have secured the trophy on two occasions. In their first ever World Cup appearance after the apartheid era, the Springboks in 1995 won the trophy and also going on do it again in 2007.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup was the first ever major tournament hosted in post-apartheid South Africa and the event truly united the country and the Springboks brought immense pride to the nation. Led by Jacobus Francois Pienaar, the team defeated Power House New Zealand in the final at Ellis Park Johannesburg after Flyhalf Joel Stransky kicked a drop goal in extra time to win the match 15-12.

Watch Joel Stransky drop goal moment:

The country had never been prouder as the first democratic appointed president Nelson Mandela, handed over the Cup to the Springbok team.

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Former President Nelson Mandela hands over the Webb Ellis trophy to Springbok captain.

The 1999 World Cup was the second tournament the Springboks participated in and coming in as the defending champions they had a point to prove. Coming off a not so great Tri Nations tournament, with having played four games and only managing one win, the Boks had it all to play for in the World Cup tournament. Playing in Group A against Scotland, Uruguay and Spain, the Boks eased passed the group stages with three wins from three games and heading straight into the quarter finals where they would face England. The Boks comfortably eased passed with a 44-21 win and would then face Australia in a much anticipated match in the semi-finals. The game would go all the way to extra time where the Australians would crush the defending champion’s hearts with a 21-27 victory. The Boks would contest the third/fourth plays offs against arch rivals New Zealand and win with a 22-18 score line.

The 2003 World Cup was not one of the best for the Springboks. Placed in Group C along with England, Samoa, Uruguay and Georgia the Boks managed 3 wins from 4 games which included a 26-6 loss to England, who would go on to win the tournament. Unfortunately for the country the Springboks only managed to play all the way to the quarter final stage where they were knocked-out by New Zealand 29-9.

The very much anticipated 2007 Rugby World Cup title was open for any nation to grab. The Springboks had again come off a disappointing Tri Nations tournament where they played four games only managing to win one. With a solid all round squad, depth with experience and youthful talented players, the Springboks were up for the challenge. Placed in group A along with England, Tonga, Samoa and United States, the South African’s managed to secure wins throughout the group stages.

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Legendary Springbok wing Bryan Habana broke the World Cup most tries record.

The Boks played good rugby with clinical finishing throughout the Quarter and Semi-finals and headed to the final where they would face their group A opponents, England. Fullback Percy Montgomery and young sensational center Francois Steyn contributed with the boot to bring 15 points from to England’s six. Legendary Winger Bryan Habana was the top try scorer in the tournament and also broke the most tries in a World Cup record with a whopping eight.

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The Springboks celebrating their second World Cup victory.

The 2011 World Cup was always going to be tough competition as the favourites New Zealand were the host nation. The Springboks placed in group D alongside Wales, Samoa, Fiji and fellow Africans Namibia. The Springboks endured in a titanic battle against the Welsh and came through with a 17-16 victory. They then managed to cruise past the other group opponents and secured a spot in the quarter-finals were they would face arch rivals Australia. In a match remembered for some controversial officiating, the Boks went down 11-9 and were knocked out of the tournament. Springbok Fly half Morne Steyn was the tournament’s top point scorer with 62 points. The All Blacks went on to win the trophy.

The Springboks went into the 2015 World Cup with a steady yet set mind set of what needed to be done in order to go all the way. Seemingly so, the Springboks succumbed to a shock defeat in their opening game when they suffered a  historic loss to Japan in a last minute Try to shock the entire rugby world.

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Springbok captain and veteran scrum half Fourie Du Preez scored a last minute try to advance the Boks to the Semi-finals.

The Boks would pick themselves up with comfortable wins over Scotland, Samoa and the United States. In an entertaining match in the quarter- finals against Wales, the Boks, through scrumhalf Captain Fourie Du Preez, scored a late Try in the corner of the back of a scrum to hand the Boks a 23-19 victory. They would then go on to face defending champions New Zealand where they would narrowly go down 20-18. The All Blacks would go all the way to defend their title and become the first ever nation to win the trophy three times.

The Springboks begin their 2019 international series on Saturday when they will face Australia in the Rugby Championship opener at Ellis Park. The Springboks will play three games in the Rugby Championship, then have two warm up matches before heading off to the 2019 Rugby World Cup being hosted in Japan.

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