It’s expected to reach a high of 28 degrees Celsius in Pretoria on Saturday, but it will be even hotter on the pitch at Loftus Versfeld when the Springboks take on the All Blacks.
The New Zealanders want revenge after their 36-34 defeat to the South Africans in Wellington last month, while the Boks are hoping to continue their resurgence in the Rugby Championship after winning their last two games.
But do you know that the Kiwis have lost at Loftus since unity in South African rugby? They have won all four Tests since 1996, with the normally good conditions and fast pitch aiding their all-out attacking style.
Let’s look back at those four previous Loftus Tests…
24 August 1996: Springboks 26 All Blacks 33
This was one of the greatest days in New Zealand rugby history, as it was the first time that they had won a series in South Africa.
Sean Fitzpatrick’s men were determined to avenge the 1995 World Cup final defeat, and they got the next best prize by claiming the three-match series 2-0 after the first two matches – although they lost the last one.
The Loftus game will be best remembered for All Black No 8 Zinzan Brooke’s incredible drop goal against a Bok team led by Gary Teichmann and coached by André Markgraaff.
Springboks 26 – Tries: Ruben Kruger, Hannes Strydom, Joost van der Westhuizen. Conversion: Joel Stransky (1). Penalties: Stransky (3).
All Blacks 33 – Tries: Zinzan Brooke, Jeff Wilson (2). Conversions: Simon Culhane (3). Penalties: Culhane (2), Jon Preston (3). Drop Goal: Brooke (1).
7 August 1999: Springboks 18 All Blacks 34
Gary Teichmann had just been dropped as Bok captain by Nick Mallett following the 28-0 drubbing in Dunedin, which saw Joost van der Westhuizen take over as the skipper and current coach Rassie Erasmus line up at No 8.
It wasn’t such a bad defeat this time around in terms of the score, with Kiwi flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens slotting seven penalties on the day.
Springboks 18 – Tries: André Snyman, Joost van der Westhuizen. Conversion: Gaffie du Toit (1). Penalties: Du Toit (2).
All Blacks 34 – Tries: Christian Cullen (2). Penalties: Andrew Mehrtens (7). Drop Goal: Jeff Wilson (1).
19 July 2003: Springboks 16 All Blacks 52
This was the biggest margin of defeat in history between the two teams – until the 57-15 in 2016 and 57-0 in 2017.
John Mitchell’s All Blacks were rampant, running in seven tries and sweeping Rudolf Straeuli’s beleaguered Boks off their feet.
Springboks 16 – Try: Ashwin Willemse. Conversion: Louis Koen (1). Penalties: Koen (2). Drop Goal: Koen (1).
All Blacks 52 – Tries: Doug Howlett (2), Aaron Mauger, Kees Meeuws, Joe Rokocoko (2), Carlos Spencer. Conversions: Spencer (4). Penalties: Spencer (3).
26 August 2006: Springboks 26 All Blacks 45
The disaster of the 49-0 defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane weighed heavily on Jake White’s Boks. They were on a four-game losing streak, and Graham Henry’s All Blacks made it five as the Kiwis scored five tries, and Dan Carter kicked the Boks to pieces with four conversions and four penalties.
At least the South Africans saved White’s job the following week by beating New Zealand 21-20 in Rustenburg.
Springboks 26 – Tries: Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie (2). Conversion: André Pretorius (1). Penalties: Percy Montgomery (2), Butch James (1).
All Blacks 45 – Tries: Neemia Tialata, Luke McAlister, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mils Muliaina, Rico Gear. Conversions: Dan Carter (4). Penalties: Carter (4).@ashfakmohamed