Rugby Championship focus: South Africa

With the 2022 Rugby Championship now upon us, we take a look at the form of the four teams involved, with the focus here on the Springboks.

What they did in July Tests

The Springboks were surprisingly pushed hard in their incoming series against Wales, needing a dominant third Test deciding win to hand them the series 2-1.

With Wales having struggled in recent times, the Boks were expected to whitewash them, however after needing an 82nd minute penalty to edge the first game 32-29 at Loftus, it set the scene for what proved to be a tough challenge in the end for the World Champs.

The second match saw the Bok management throw caution to the wind, naming an experimental side featuring 19 changes to the match 23 from the first game along with six debutants. The inexperienced line-up fronted up well and should have won the game, but instead allowed Wales to sneak their first ever win on South African soil with a converted try in the 78th minute sealing a 13-12 win for the visitors.

This sent the series to a decider, but with the Boks naming arguably their strongest team of the series and playing in front of a buoyant Cape Town crowd celebrating Eben Etzebeth’s 100th appearance and Bongi Mbonambi’s 50th, they produced their best performance of the series by cruising to a 30-14 win that could have been bigger had they taken most of their chances.

Springboks results at the 2021 Rugby Championship

The Springboks had a poor Rugby Championship in 2021, despite being the only team to beat eventual champs the All Blacks. Since becoming world champions in 2019, the Boks had missed the entire 2020 international rugby  year due to the Covid pandemic, before making their comeback with a huge effort in the British and Irish Lions tour, winning it 2-1.

That gave them plenty of momentum heading into the Rugby Champs, which they took by comfortably beating Argentina in their two home matches in Gqeberha, 32-12 and 29-10. This saw them head Down Under for their final four games in the competition on a high, having won four straight games, including two over the B&I Lions.

However, that’s where things drastically came undone as they were edged 28-26 by Australia, before being completely outplayed by the hosts 30-17, as they slipped down the standings. As always the Boks picked themselves up for their games against the All Blacks, just being edged 19-17 in the 100th Test between the two nations, before they ended the competition on a high with a 31-29 win, to finish third on the log.

Springboks Rugby Championship fixtures for 2022

South Africa vs New Zealand during the 2021 Rugby Championship. Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images

August 6: Mbombela, v New Zealand

August 13: Joburg, v New Zealand

August 27: Adelaide, v Australia

September 3: Sydney, v Australia

September 17: Beunos Aires, v Argentina

September 24: Durban, v Argentina