CAPE TOWN – The appalling 57-0 capitulation by the Springboks against the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday is the worst ever defeat in the South Africans’ history.
The record loss claims the No 1 spot ahead of the 53-3 disaster against England at Twickenham in 2002, where Jannes Labuschagne was red-carded for a late charge on Jonny Wilkinson.
But the Boks and coach Allister Coetzee didn’t even have the excuse of being down to 14 men to explain why they fell apart at the North Harbour Stadium.
Let’s take a look at the five worst Springbok defeats in history…
Springboks 32 Japan 34 – September 19, 2015
It might have been close on the scoreboard, but this was the single most shocking loss in South African rugby. Ever.
Lowly Japan toppled Heyneke Meyer’s Springboks in their opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with replacement back Karne Hesketh dotting down in the corner to send the Japanese fans into raptures in Brighton.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a very bright moment in Springbok rugby…
Italy 20 Springboks 18 – November, 19, 2016
Don’t forget this one in Florence, the cherry on a tasteless 2016 Bok cake in Allister Coetzee’s first year in charge.
A former Boland No 8 in Dries van Schalkwyk played lock for Italy and scored the first try for the Azzurri – yes, that is how bad it got for a Bok starting team that included Willie le Roux, Ruan Combrinck, Bryan Habana, Pat Lambie and Willem Alberts…
All Blacks 57 Springboks 0 – September 16, 2017
To put all the blame on Elton Jantjies’ missed penalty in the eighth minute – as some on social media have done – for the Springboks’ humiliation this morning would be naïve.
Yes, of course the Bok pivot should’ve slotted the three-pointer. But there were bigger problems on the day, such as Malcolm Marx’s lineout-throwing “yips” returning, the numerous knock-ons, defensive lapses and poor finishing on attack.
The All Blacks had just three points on the board in the opening 16 minutes, but once Rieko Ioane gathered Aaron Smith’s chip ahead, the floodgates opened and the Boks suffered their biggest losing margin.
Australia 49 Springboks 0 – July 15, 2006
The horror show at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane nearly cost Jake White his job.
The Boks were nowhere in this game, and someone like Pierre Spies – on debut – must have thought ‘What did I get myself into here’.
Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau pulled the Wallaby backline strings as they ran rings around the Boks to lead 30-0 at halftime already.
England 53 Springboks 3 – November 23, 2002
While England were always favourites to win this game, Rudolf Straeuli’s Boks would always think they have a fighting chance – and Jannes Labuschagne perhaps took that notion too far.
Just over 20 minutes into the game, with England 8-0 up, Jonny Wilkinson cleared his lines, but was then taken out by Bok lock Labuschagne.
New Zealand referee Paddy O’Brien dished out a straight red card, and captain Corné Krige and his team were never going to get back into the ill-tempered contest with 14 men.