New Zealand versus South Africa . . . the All Blacks against the Springboks. There’s been no other rugby rivalry like it. For a hundred years, they’ve been battering away against each other, the outcomes see-sawing with the seasons.
But it’s been more than sport, more than rugby. The intense contests were also overlaid for much of the time by the racial divide that the South African policy of apartheid brought with it – the harsh competitiveness and sometimes brutality of the test matches spilled over into politics and into the streets.
Through it all, from the angry years to a modern era in which Springboks and All Blacks play each other every year, when the test players know each other as well as any provincial teammate, the rivalry, the eternal quest for supremacy, goes on.
A hundred years of unequalled combat.