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Southland, Canterbury and Buller

Leaving, New Plymouth the Springboks crossed over to the South Island for the second time on tour and travelled down to the southernmost town in New Zealand, namely Invercargill to play against the regions representative team, Southland. The South Island is considered to be main land in New Zealand and more patriotic and enthusiastic rugby supporters are hard to find. The real New Zealand men or the hard men comes from the Deep South; the men with natural strength, endurance, and grit developed by manual labour in tough and uncompromising environmental conditions –cold, windy, and hilly with little luxuries.

However, true New Zealand hospitality -in the typical rural fashion- is also a characteristic of the Deep South. The welcome reception the Springboks received on arrival was heart warming and overwhelming; Invercargill, Queenstown and surrounding areas entertained them with everything the Deep South had to offer; barbecue’s, singing and dancing, snow skiing trips, duck and deer hunting, helicopter aerial views of Mount Cook and the surrounding mountains, trout fishing in riverbeds to mention but a few of the many excursions with which the Springboks were treated.

McLean writes as follows about the Springboks arrival in Invercargill:

Among the thousands at the airport were a Maori welcoming party of the Murikhiku club, dressed in football shorts, piu-pius and as cold, one imagined, as Maori’s had ever been. They challenged the Springboks, they sang songs, they gave haka; and when Louw responded with a bit of Maori, they looked as pleased as if he had been proved a blood brother.

Out of the airport building, what a sight! A collection of two puffing billies, vintage cars going all the way back to 1911, and at the head for a few hundred yards a band of pipes and drums. There were outriders of boy cyclists, dozens of them. And every yard of the way, perhaps two miles in all, cars were parked and people stood shoulder to shoulder. As between the ‘Boks’ and the Folk, the empathy was total.

The Springboks did all they could in return for this extraordinary and touching welcome. They sang their songs and Kobus Louw and de Villiers was in good touch with their reply speeches but the most touching tribute came from Gainsford who said that until now his greatest moment in rugby was when he stood with the Springboks facing 60,000 Welshmen singing “Land of my fathers”. “But this surpassed that”, said John.

Wynand Mans with a Maori child in his arms at a typical Maori welcome reception.

In the background, Lofty Nel.

Played in 12 matches during the 1965 tour to New Zealand (3 in the centre rest on wing).

2 Tests (1965 against Ireland and Scotland); 1.82 m; 85 kg

1 test try and 1 conversion on test level.

Scored the second most points –next to Keith Oxlee- on tour, namely 67 points (8 tries, 22 conversions; 2 penalty goals and 1 drop kick).

Terry McLean on Wynand Mans: A very likeable young man with soft eyes and a bright smile. He was an extremely popular member of the team.

He strained the ligaments of his right shoulder against Auckland and a Hamstring against Hawke's Bay; the one affected his tour and the other finished it. He was chosen as either a wing or a centre, but in the latter position was risked only a few times, for he had the fatal failing of always wanting to beat another man during an attacking run.

As a wing, he sometimes looked extremely dangerous but appearances were somewhat deceptive, for his swerve was not especially elusive and his running though swift, was not exceptional.

He was the leading try scorer in the team, his goal kicking at times being extremely sound, and he was much indebted to Don Clarke for a lesson or two. As it happened he suffered, as Clarke did at the end of his career, from the tortures of lack of confidence and toward the end of the tour in New Zealand lost his rhythm and accuracy.

South Africa 19 / Southland 6 

As passionate and enthusiastic as the welcome so passionate and enthusiastic the rugby on the field and the support off the field. The commitment was total and the crowd vocally cheered on their team; every lineout, every scrum, every maul, every ball won; every line brake made and every Springbok tackled was cheered with the volume and hysterical abundance equal to that of a group of high school girls at a inter school athletic event.

Southland took the lead in the third minute of the match with a penalty and increased their lead with another 3 points in the 38th minute of the first half with yet another penalty. They hang onto that 6-0 lead until the 24th minute of the 2nd half. There was 16 minutes of play left in the 2nd half before the Springboks could equal the score; 12 minutes left on the clock before they could edge ahead on the score board. Unfortunately –from the spectators perspective- shortly thereafter, the dam wall broke, and in the end the ‘Boks’ won with 5 tries and a flattering score line.

Southland with a tradition of staunch resistance against Springbok tourist –although no win yet- was determined to live up to their predecessor’s performances and the expectations of their supporters. The Southland team of 1965 was not full of stars, but it was a more than adequate team with two former All Blacks Robin Archer (No. 10) and 'Ack' Soper (No. 9) and Jack Hazlett (No. 4) who got his All Black colours in 1966. Greig Spenser (no 2) was a former Southland player and John Lindsay (No. 3) and Graham Townsend (No. 12) participated earlier in the season in the All Black trials.

The Springboks selected their week team; the surprise inclusion being Hannes Marais on the flank. The field was wet, muddy, and heavy - the wettest and muddiest so far on tour; it was bitter cold and the resistance was stubborn and determined. It was not an easy game for the Springboks by any stretch of the imagination and the South Africans had to dig deep against a team as proud and resilient as you can get. Cullen (Southland, no 15) scored the only points in the first half with two penalties.

The Springboks appeared unsettled and unfocussed in the wet conditions and made many mistakes but was not entirely without a plan in the first half. The plan, to soften up the lighter forward pack of the opposition in the first half, started paying dividends early in die 2nd half when Naude, Goosen, Nomis and Brynard combined for a breakaway try by Brynard in the corner.

In the 24th minute of the second half Naude again broke away and when stopped just short of the goal line Janson (No. 6) was on hand in support and used his strength and weight to drive over for the Springboks 2nd try. Four minutes later, Thompson (Southland, No 11) under pressure dropped the ball, Nomis kicked through and win the chase to the ingoal area to fall on the ball for the Springboks 3rd try.

With seven minutes of play left on the clock Trix Truter (Springbok no. 14) jumped into the backline to create space for Brynard on the other wing. Brynard slipped on the inside of Cullen, the Southland fullback, with a brilliant step to score under the post. Wynand Mans converted and with two minutes of play left Mans carved through a gap during a backline move, from set play, to score in the corner for the last points of the game.

South Africa dominated the set play with 43 against 16 lineouts’ won and ten heels against the head to one. None of the Springboks forwards really stood out, individually, but Goosen and Naude worked hard at the breakdowns and McDonald scrummed well. Marais and Janson did not come off on the flank, being too slow at the breakdowns. In the backline Brynard impressed with his speed and agility while Nomis on 12 and Mans on 13 demonstrated good speed and penetration. 

Macdonald the Springbok prop forward who scrummed his direct opponent –also a McDonald- into the ground.

McLean writes as follows about the game:

....there was one quality Southland did not have and not all the rampaging fire of the forwards could make up the deficiency. This was weight. All through the first half, while the Southlanders on the field were raging and the Southlanders off it were screaming, the Springboks had only one thought, to put the ball into touch as efficiently as possible. A lineout meant a maul, a maul meant a scrum, meant the application of that enormous weight.

It was dull Rugby, lightened only by the revelations of Hopwood’s swift intelligence and Brynard’s brilliant acceleration; but it was efficient, heartless rugby. The value of it was seen almost from the very start of the second half. Southland now were back-pedaling, striving to hold ground, putting every desperate effort into an attempt to counter the weight with quickness.

To do them justice, the Springboks had rather more than weight. Once Smith had got over his troubles in clearing passes and Barnard had been relieved of the need to belt every ball into touch, these two men, and the men outside them, especially Nomis and Brynard, turned out to be positive and agile. 

The Springbok team for this game were:

Mulder; Brynard; Mans; Nomis; Truter; Barnard; Smith (Captain); Hopwood; Janson; Goosen; Naude; Marais; Mcdonald; Malan; Parker.

South Africa 6 / Canterbury 5

Canterbury (Crusaders in Super 14 terms) has won two of their previous three encounters (1921, 1937 and 1956) against the Springboks namely in 1921 and 1956. It was an extremely powerful Canterbury side with Cornelius (no 7), Dunne (No. 5) and Millar (No. 4), the only Canterbury players in the team (selected to play the Springboks) who have not played for the All Blacks. Canterbury therefore fancied their chances to become the first non-international team to beat the Springboks three times. The Springboks subsequently approached this match with caution and apprehension, determined to win.

The weather and playing conditions were good but a disappointing crowd of only 38, 000 showed up on match day. It was the best match of the tour by far and the Springboks scraped home by 1 point. The general feeling was that the ‘Boks’ were the better team on the day. It was an exciting game with the outcome uncertain until the final whistle was blown. The Springboks, however, for the first time on tour managed to take control up front against a quality side. They dominated in the lineouts and stood strong in the scrums and were more entertaining and dangerous in the backline although in general kiwi’s still felt they kicked too much.

Naude's place kicking was again erratic and inconsistent and he put the Springboks under extreme pressure by missing two easy penalties (one of only 24 meter right in front of the uprights). These penalties, if successful, could have put the Springboks out of reach. Canterbury's only try came from an interception from a movement which should have lead to a Springbok try. The only other occasion during which Canterbury threatened to score was late in the second half when Engelbrecht and Wilson ran into each other while trying to catch an aerial punt. It created a four to one situation with Watts, Cornelius, Steel and Wylie on Canterbury side hoofing the ball towards the Springboks goal line with Gainsford as the only defender. McLean describes it as follows:

... the only thing one of the home boys needed to do was to stop and pick up the ball, glare at Gainsford until John felt compelled to the tackle, and then pass it. But they messed up by bumbling with the ball on the ground for too long ending up to close to the sideline and when someone eventually did pick it up, I think it was Wylie, Gainsford had the simple duty of hurling the bloke into touch. 

Picture of a concussed and confused Jannie Engelbrecht after he and Wilson collided during the match against Canterbury. Engelbrecht had to spend a few days in the hospital to recover from concussion.

The Springboks were at times outstanding with the ball in hand, and Roux's try was the result of textbook rugby, where both forwards and backline players combined and moved the ball first from left to right and then after some in and out passing against the touchline, followed by a quick ruck, the ball was again transfered from right to left through 8 pairs of hands before Roux went over in the corner. McLean described the try as follows:

When Roux scored in the 25th minute, away out to the left, the preceding plays were copybook Rugby. The ball was moved to Engelbrecht on the right, in again, out again to him, in again to Macdonald; and Macdonald’s massive charge to compel a ruck was followed by a delectably quick heel and the passing of the ball among eight backs before Roux went over at the speed of a frightening hare. This was the logical development of the hard and beautiful stuff the Springboks had been playing up till now and the response from the crowd was gratifyingly warm. 

Mannetjies Roux

27 tests (1960-1970)

6 tries.

1.7 m; 72.6 kg.

Played in 15 games including all four tests. Scored just one try on the tour namely against Canterbury.

Terry McLean on Mannetjies Roux:

Francois Roux du Toit attained a certain grisly fame in rugby when he made a tackle or the English flyhalf, Richard Sharp, or such severity that the latter's jaw was broken.

Brain Vaughn the manager of that 1962 British Lions team was so appalled by the viciousness of the tackle that his first reaction was to bring his team off the field in protest. Happily, this calamitous idea was not proceeded with and before the end of the tour Sharp in a Knightly gesture had spent an hour talking to Roux.

The Wallabies of 1963, having penetrated the secret of Roux's high and flying tackles, proceeded to show that he had had decided limitations. The 1965 Tour Committee, less perceptive, thought him the cat's pajamas, though one of the five members did acknowledge, with a worried frown, that Roux did tend to "Beggar about too much." There was no question that the boy had incredible gifts and the try he scored against Canterbury was one of the best. (But it was the only try).

However, for lack of cool application of gifts he never quite made the best use of them and very often have had an unsettling effect upon the rhythm of the attacking backline. They said he was best on the wing. But they never tried him on the wing.

Mannetjies Roux by Doc Craven

I walked past the field one day where the first year students were having their trials and I saw a youngster running through the opposing team every time he got the ball.

Later I told Jannie Krige, the coach, that I had seen a centre who was outstanding. I advised him that he had a genius under his wing and that no-one should prescribe to a genius. "Leave him alone" I warned "he'll make many mistakes; he'll give away tries, but let me assure you, he'll make or score more tries than he gives away. Leave him alone - don't interfere with his style until he gets to me and then we'll see what we can do."

Jannie did that and later, when he went on leave, asked me to look after the under-19's as well. I said: "Okay, Jannie, on condition that I select the under-19 teams and put the players in the positions that I want them to play in."

In the first match against Van der Stel they had really battled. I think the score was 6-0 or 6-6 and I made nine or eleven changes to the team for the return match, including positional changes, and I put Mannetjies where I wanted him - at centre.

I was on my way to my mother's funeral when I stopped for a while to watch the game. My, how they clicked and Mannetjies spearheaded most of those movements. The Maties walloped their opponents that day. With Mannetjies Roux on your side you could take on the world.

Lofty Nel flicking the ball back to Dawie de Villiers 

The Springbok team playing against Canterbury:

Wilson; Brynard; Roux; Gainsford; Engelbrecht; Barnard; de Villiers (captain); Nel; Ellis; du Preez; Naude; Schoeman; van Zyl; Walton; Macdonald.

South Africa 11 / West Coast-Buller 0

Buller (1 win out of 7 matches) and West Coast (2 wins out of 7 matches), both, did not really had a good seasons in 1965. The Combined team played one warm-up match (7 days before the match against SA) against Marlborough, Nelson and Golden-Bay-Motueka which they lost 10-12. This inexperienced combined team -playing without any major star- did howver put up a sterling effort against the Springboks. The field was wet, and slippery -not as sludgy and heavy as Rugby Park in Invercargill- but hard under foot and wet which made the playing surface as slippery as a bar of soap. The Springboks struggled on the uncertain surface and the combined team - accustomed to the circumstances- were able to pen the ‘Boks” down in their own 10 meter area and apply huge pressure. Nomis pulled his hamstring on the slippery surface and was out for the rest of the tour.

The referee had the Springboks puzzled with his application and interpretation of the rules and that together with the opponents’ in your face approach caused annoyance, irritation, and edginess culminating in jersey pulling, eye balling, barging, and elbowing between the two packs. This proceeded until Abie Malan –just before the reset of a scrum- stepped between the two packs and said something to both sets of forwards which in a totally unexpected way halted all the negativity and the game proceeded after that without any further incidents. 

Nelie Smith sending his backline away in the first backline move of the match

Oxlee opened the scoring with a penalty after only 90 seconds. The only other points in the first half resulted when Mans on the wing jumped into the line to create a man over allowing Truter on the other wing to score.

Trix Truter who scored South Africa's only try in the first half 

Janson bursting through a lineout early in the match

Just after the start of the second half, Janson drive over and scored after a backline move was stopped just short of the goal line. Oxlee converted and despite continued efforts by both teams this was the last points of the game.

The Springbok backline struggled badly on the slippery playing surface and only Mulder at fullback -after an uncertain start- found his feet, so to speak, and had a reasonable good game. Roux were dangerous at times as was Nomis -up to his injury- while Hopwood was the best of the forwards.

The following paragraphs by Terry McLean probably provide an adequate summary of the match:

The Springboks tactical play being dependent on Smith’s ideas of initiating the attack, was not masterly, in fact it didn’t develop authority until the last 15 minutes when Nelie with runs alongside the scrum began to bring Schoeman and Botha into the attack.

Otherwise, the midfield was lazy and uninterested; Truter had a positive genius for not doing the right thing, and it needed stout work by Mulder, Oxlee and Hopwood to tidy up the roughnesses.

But even if the ‘Boks’ had been at their best, which they most decidedly weren’t, they would still have had the devil’s own job subduing the tigers of the coast.

The players that played for the combined team were:

RT Dawe (Buller); WAR James (WC); WN Forsyth (Capt, B); TN McAra (WC); Brain Stack (B); LB Halsal (B); BW Johnson (WC); JB Maughan (WC); MS McRae (WC); OH Nahr (B); BE Caldwell (WC); GR Wood (B); PW Veale (WC); BP Roche (B); JC Smith (B).

The Springbok team for this match were:

Mulder; Truter; Roux; Nomis; Mans; Oxlee; Smith (Captain); Hopwood; Slabber; Botha; Janson; Schoeman; Parker; Malan; Marais.