The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

Battle of Tucuman 1993

 

The 1993 South Africa rugby union tour of Argentina was a series of matches played in October and November 1993 in Argentina by South Africa national rugby union team.

 

In the same period a development South African team also toured Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

 

Results

 

Scores and results list South Africa's points tally first.

 

Opposing Team

For

Against

Date

Venue

Status

Córdoba

55

37

October 28, 1993

Chateau Carreras, Córdoba

Tour match

Buenos Aires

27

28

October 30, 1993

Ferrocarrill Oeste, Buenos Aires

Tour match

Tucumán

40

12

November 2, 1993

Club Atletico, Tucuman

Tour match

Argentina

29

26

November 6, 1993

Ferrocarrill Oeste, Buenos Aires

Test Match

Rosario

40

26

November 9, 1993

El Coloso, Rosario

Tour match

Argentina

52

23

November 13, 1993

Ferrocarrill Oeste, Buenos Aires

Test Match

 

The tour of "Development" team

 

Scores and results list South Africa's points tally first.

 

Opposing Team

For

Against

Date

Venue

Status

Mar del Plata

32

29

October 20, 1993

Club Universitario, Mar del Plata

Tour match

Chile XV

68

19

October 24, 1993

Universidad Católica, Santiago

Tour match

San Juan

18

11

October 26, 1993

Club San Martin, San Juan

Tour match

Argentina XV

10

42

October 31, 1993

El Bosque, Gonnet

Tour match

Santa Fe

19

21

November 3, 1993

General Lopez, Santa Fé

Tour match

Uruguay XV

22

37

November 6, 1993

Paque Central, Montevideo

Tour match

 

 

Tuesday 2 November 1993; San Miguel de Tucuman

 

Springboks 40

Tucuman 12

 

San Miguel de Tucuman is a town 500 km North West of Buenos Aires; known in rugby terms as Tucuman.

 

It is a cattle farming community; uncompromising. The Tucuman rugby team and community had a reputation: “Players will punch you from the start and the spectators are hostile and will intimidate you”. The French touring team of 1991 recounted how the power was cut at halftime allowing spectators on the field to assault the tourists.

 

Tucuman province in Argentina 

 

When the Springboks arrived at the stadium the security was tight. The playing field was isolated by a high fence. The crowd, however, were hostile, booing and spitting at the Springboks. Dressing room talk was: “Do not start anything, but if they do, give it right back to them”.

 

The kick-off went directly into touch. Game started as a consequence with a scrum. Keith Andrews got head butted as the scrum went down and all hell broke loose. It was free for all. It went on and on.

 

All hell broke loose after the first scrum 

 

There was a referee warning after another incident soon afterwards. A scrum was ordered. The ball didn’t go in but the Boks kept on pushing. Next moment it erupted again. It was pandemonium. Individuals were brawling some twenty meters from the main fight. The brawl –in which Chris Dirks broke his right hand - went on for nearly two minutes.

 

Keith Andrews was flattened with a punch but got up and knocked one of the Tucuman players unconscious; right into lala land; he had to be carried off while Andrews was send off.

 

Tiaan Strauss Captain for the match telling the referee if they don't stop hitting us we wont stop giving it back to them.

 

Ollie le Roux arrives as replacement prop with the message from the side that the whole team must go ’99’ at the next fight to try and put an end to it. (99 are of course the famous 1974 B&I Lions call which -when used- meant that everyone should punch the player nearest to him). It happens at the very next scrum.

 

It gets worse. The non-playing team members are being threatned in the pavilion and are moved inside the fence but they got spitted on. The spitting gets so bad that the South African physiotherapist walking up and down to treat injuries put on his wet suit.

 

François Pienaar –who was not playing- wants to call the players of the field but Coach Ian McIntosh restrains him from doing so. McIntosh later admits it’s the worse rugby experience of his life.

 

Meantime the boks played some good rugby. The Springbok pack dominated proceedings and for the first time in their history a touring team gave the Tucuman team a hiding upfront and knocked the living daylights of them. The Tucuman captain later admitted that they were soundly beaten. “They are hard, hard men and will not be easily be beaten in the test matches”, he said.

 

Tucuman points came from four penalties while South Africa scored 4 tries. Honiball converted all four and added four penalties.

 

It was ugly but it united the Springbok team. They learned to stand together when under threat. McIntosh said: “Youngsters have become men tonight and men have become true Springboks”. Some of the Tucuman authorities said to McIntosh that no team in the past has dominated them so much up front.

 

The local team limped in -much latter than the Springboks- at the function that night; all plastered-up. It was clear that they took a hammering and they were still moody. ‘Skaamkwaad’ (cross because they were shamed) we call it in Afrikaans but the Boks ignored them. Jannie Engelbrecht in his post-match speech called the match a disgrace.

 

The Argentinian rugby authorities stepped in and showed their disapproval by taking the Tucuman fixture away for the next two international tours to the country.

 

Springbok team that played in this match: Chris Dirks; Chester Williams; Pieter Muller; Heinrich Fulls; James Small; Henry Honiball; Hentie Maartens; Tiaan Strauss (Captain);  Ruben Kruger; Wahl Bartman, Steve Atherton; Hannes Strydom; Keith Andrews: Naka Droske; Guy Kebble.

 

Substitutions: Jacques Olivier for Chris Dirks; Hennie le Roux for Pieter Muller; Ollie le Roux for Ruben Kruger (left the field so that Ollie le Roux could come on for Andrews that was send-off; Kruger later came back on for Bartman).

 

Tucuman team: Santiago Meson; Martin Pfister; Lucas Herrera; Patricio Meson; Martin Teran; Ricardo Sauze; Garcia Hamilton; Augistin Macome; Jose Santamarina; Fernando Baubse; Carlos Gentile; Pablo Baubse; Luis Molina; Ricardo Fort; Julio Coria.

 

No Subs;

Send off Luis Molina and Pablo Baubse.

 

Scorers:

Springboks: Chris Dirks; Hentie Maartens; Chester Williams and Jacques Olivier.

Honiball 4 conversions and 4 penalties.

 

Tucuman: S Meson 4 penalties.  

 

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