category: Fun Stuff
years from 1896 until 1956 the Springboks never lost
a test series. The period covers ten tours to this
country by the British Lions, All Blacks, Wallabies
and France and six South African tours overseas.
During this time the Springboks played 54 tests,
winning 38, drawing 5 and losing only eleven.
- Springbok Annals 1891 – 1964.
Compiled by Danie Craven 1964
Jimmy Sinclair, a
forward from what was then known as Transvaal, was
selected for the Springboks in the 1903 series was
better known as an international cricketer being the
first South African to score a century in a Cricket
Test. He was a prodigious hitter of the ball.
- Doc Craven’s
Tribute to the Legends of Springbok Rugby 1889 –
1989. Editor K. Clayton
Daisy De Melker, South
Africa’s first convicted woman poisoner in 1932,
having killed her first two husbands and only son,
married again shortly before she was arrested to S.
C. De Melker, a centre threequarter in Paul Roos’s
1906/7 Springbok side on the tour to the United
Kingdom and France.
- Murder is my
Business – Benjamin Bennett 1951
Hubert Castens our
first ever Springbok rugby captain, holds a unique
record in our history. When the 1891 tourists
arrived here from the U. K. he refereed the first
game of the tour, played in the second and third
matches and then took the whistle once more for the
6th and 7th matches. The 8th game was the first test
and he proudly led South Africa onto the field and
featured prominently in the forward rushes. He
played one more match against the tourists but by
the time the third test came around he was once
again the referee. Castens, who was from the Eastern
Cape, studied law overseas and qualified as an
attorney. He was later to lead our first national
cricket side to England were they defeated a side at
Lords led by W. G. Grace. He is recognised as the
first real coach of rugby in South Africa.
Unfortunately Castens lies buried in a paupers grave
Annals 1891 – 1964. Compiled by Danie Craven 1964
and -South Africa’s Cricketing Lawyers – H. Schulze
The 15 forwards of the
1906/7 Springboks on the tour to the United Kingdom
and France were considered by the international
media of the day as being giants – when, in fact
only six of them were over six feet in height with
tallest being just six foot three. None of them
weighed over 200lbs.
Annals 1891 – 1964. Compiled by Danie Craven 1964
Boy Louw, the
legendary pre-war forward and holder of the then
record of 18 test caps, played in every position in
the scrum for the Springboks. In test matches, Louw
played loose-head and tighthead prop, lock, flank
and eighthman. Whilst on tour in 1937 in Australia
and New Zealand he played in four matches as hooker.
In later years Boy became a noted administrator,
coach, selector and Springbok manager.
Statistical History of Springbok Rugby – T. Shnaps
When we played England
on the first Springbok tour in 1906/7 the match was
played in atrocious conditions and the match ended
in a draw. The media were upset with the result and
led a campaign to have the Test replayed, even in
calling the Under Secretary of State for the
Colonies at the time to say his peace. Who was he.?
None other then Winston Churchill, Britain’s leader
in the Second World War - The Carolin Papers. A
Diary of the 1906\07 Tour. Compiled and Edited By
Lappe Laubscher and Gideon Nieman 1990.
The try scorer for England was Freddie Brookes, who
had in fact played in the Springbok trials and was
considered the second best wing in South Africa.
There was no doubt he would have been included in
the Springbok side but for a lack of residential
qualification. English born he had only been in
Rhodesia for four years. After the trials he took
leave and visited the U. K. and was selected for
this test, his only appearance for England. A
Rhodesian Civil Servant by profession. He was an
outstanding all round sportsman playing provincial
rugby, cricket and soccer for Rhodesia, holding the
100-yard title in athletics as well as the national
long jump record. For 4 years he was national Tennis
singles champion as well as holding the men’s and
mixed doubles title. At the age of 47 in 1930 he was
still good enough to represent what was then
Salisbury in the first inter-town squash tournament.
- The Carolin Papers. A Diary
of the 1906\07 Tour. Compiled and Edited By Lappe
Laubscher and Gideon Nieman 1990
In the days before
teams were flown around this country South Africa
had an advantage with distance and altitude which we
used to good advantage. In 1949 between the First
Test in Cape Town and the second at Ellis Park in
Johannesburg we packed the New Zealanders off by
train to what was then Rhodesia forcing them to
spend 8 out of 11 nights on the train. On their way
back their train collided, in the middle of the
night, into the rear of a Goods Train. This caused
some players to be thrown out of the upper bunks,
where one player, Charlie Willocks - a forward - so
badly damaged his shoulder that it affected him for
the rest of the tour.
- Bob Scott Story by R. W. H. Scott
and T. P. Mclean 1956
On another occasion,
but much earlier, one of the first British Isles
sides to tour this country arrived in Cape Town on
the mailship mid morning on the Thursday after
nearly three weeks at sea. The first fixture was
against the Town Clubs which was effectively Western
Province, then on the Tuesday the tourists played
Country Clubs, which was effectively Boland. Two
days later on the Thursday the fixture was against
the Cape Colony which was in effect a combined
Western Province, Boland, South Western Districts,
Eastern Province, Border and Griqualand West side.
- History of South
African Rugby Football by I. D. Difford 1933
We are always told
that in the good old days the game was completely
amateur. In 1919 a New Zealand Service Team visited
us on their way home after the First World War. The
people of Kimberley were so pleased to see them that
the popular visitors were individually presented
with medallions of South African gold; each inset
with a diamond from the local mines. There is no
record whether this was ever brought to the
attention of the International Rugby Board!
- Rugby in South
Africa. A History 1861 – 1988 by Paul Dobson
In the era before
neutral referees, V. H. (Boet) Neser set a record in
South Africa which is unlikely ever to be broken.
Boet refereed 9 tests in SA involving the Springboks
including all four against the 1928 All Blacks. A
talented sportsman himself, whilst attending Oxford
University as a Rhodes Scholar, he gained his ‘blue’
in 1919 as a flank forward and the following year
due to injuries he played fly half playing so well
that he scored one try and made another in his sides
victory. He also obtained his colours for cricket
and on his return to South Africa captained his
country from wicketkeeper against the 1924/25
English tourists. Off the field he was equally
talented for on his death he was a Supreme Court
Judge of the Transvaal Division based in Pretoria.
- Wisden Book
of Cricketer’s Lives – Compiled by Benny Green 1986.
The lightest Springbok
ever: Billy Sendin - 1921 Tour to Australia and New
Zealand - 60Kg’s.
The three oldest clubs
in South Africa: Hamilton's – Cape Town (1875),
Villagers - Cape Town (1875) and Buffalo's – Border
The average weight of
the 1906/7 Springbok forwards was 84Kg’s.
The South African
Rugby Board was formed 1889, fifteen years after the
rugby board of India.
The Morkel family of
Somerset West produced 10 Springboks from 1903 to
Boy Louw, Springbok
forward 1928 to 1938, played in all 8 forward
positions, in matches for South Africa.
The first British side to South Africa consisted of 21
players and they played 20 games in 60 days losing
South Africa and New
Zealand jointly hold the record for most consecutive
wins (17 tests). New Zealand was the first to
It is believed that Danie Craven invented the diving pass.