FROZEN IN TIME
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY - August 22, 1998
Springbok captain Gary Teichmann hoists the trophy after South Africa seal their first Tri-Nations triumph At Ellis Park, comprehensively outplaying Australia to win 29-15.
The Springboks lead 16-12 at half-time and score a try in each half to win the Southern Hemisphere tournament. The victory is a personal triumph for Nick Mallett, who took over as coach a year before and remodelled the South African side after Carel du Plessis was axed following the series defeat against the British Lions.
The home side, who beat Australia 14-13 in Perth earlier in the competition, mix iron defence with calculated attack to dominate the game, rarely giving the Wallabies a sight of their tryline and leaving fullback Matthew Burke to kick all of Australia's points.
South Africa's first try comes after they launch a bold attack from their line. Wing Pieter Rossouw breaks through the middle and flank Johan Erasmus takes the ball deep into Wallaby territory. When the Australians concede a penalty inside their 22 to kill the move, the Boks kick into the corner and score from the line-out. Teichmann takes the catch at the back and prop Adrian Garvey goes over unopposed off the side of the ruck, with the cover defence anonymous.
The second try comes in the final minutes, after a period of desperate defence by tiring Australia. Flank Bobby Skinstad, on as an 'impact' substitute for the final half-hour, produces a piece of magic after several phases of play ended with a ruck on the left.
Skinstad dummies a reverse pass and runs through to score under the posts after brushing through Tim Horan's tackle.
The victory marks the end of a hard road back for the world champions, who are beset by problems almost immediately after winning the title in 1995. The champion coach Kitch Christie resigns after steering the side to 14 successive test wins, including six during the World Cup. It is his departure that triggers a self-destructive landslide. Two coaches are appointed and sacked post-Christie until Mallet is appointed. Andre Markgraaff is the first to oversee the slide. His side loses four consecutive tests to New Zealand, including a home series loss.
But now, as World Cup qualifying gets down to its final stages, and with the Tri-Nations and a 15th-straight test victory, a new attitude and regained form have many envisioning the Springboks as the first team to win consecutive titles.
However, after going on to win a record 17 successive tests, an exhausted Springbok side lose 13-7 to England at Twickenham. The following year, South Africa are beaten for the first time by Wales, and three out of four Tri-Nations matches end in defeat.
During World Cup '99 South Africa reach the semi-finals but hopes of a successful title defence are dashed by eventual winners Australia. A year later Mallett falls foul of South African rugby bureaucracy and quits just hours after a disciplinary hearing begins into allegations he brought the game into disrepute by accusing administrators of 'greed' for selling Tri-Nations tickets at inflated prices.