The Springboks must keep their discipline this weekend if they are to end 12 years of hurt and avenge their series defeat by the British & Irish Lions in 1997.
That’s the verdict of the captain of the South African side in that last series between the two sides, Gary Teichmann, who led the home side to a 2-1 defeat. Included in that was a second test defeat in Durban that saw Martin Johnson’s team take the spoils.
“One of the major things to be learned from that last Lions Test in Durban is the importance of discipline,” said Teichmann.
“Whether it is Stephen Jones or Ronan O’Gara kicking for goal for the Lions, both will be accurate, so you just can’t give away penalties.
“It would be unfair to compare the Lions of 1997 with this team, although.the Lions are always a great team with strength in every department.
“Sometimes, though, because the team hasn’t had a chance to gel for very long, you cannot be sure which Lions team will pitch up, but the individual strength in their team is just amazing.”
A dozen years on from his biggest disappointment, Teichmann reckons the Springboks are heading for a victory of five points or more this weekend, although they won’t get away with conceding 17 penalties as his team did in that second Test in 1997
“I obviously don’t have very good memories from that match at all. What really let us down that day was our discipline – it just wasn’t good enough,” recalled Teichmann..
“It really cost us with Neil Jenkins making us pay for the penalties we conceded. We did score three tries, we certainly were a good enough team and we did enough on the day to win the match.
“Unfortunately, our discipline just did not hold steady and we only had ourselves to blame. We were dominant, yet we allowed them to stay in touch – we didn’t close out the game.
“That was the big lesson to be learned from that game. They kept chipping away and eventually managed to draw level before slotting the drop goal that won it for them.
“That drop goal was absolutely heartbreaking because we knew going up to Ellis Park for the next Test and playing on the High Veld we would be well placed to win. So that second Test was an absolute must win, crunch match.
“In the end, perhaps the pressure just got to us. We knew we had to win after losing the first Test and, with that pressure on us, we gave away too many penalties.”
Teichmann’s side suffered from losing the first Test in Cape Town in 1997 and he believes that victory is vital on Saturday if the Springboks are to avenge defeat 12 years ago.
“The massive lesson that can be learned from the 1997 Durban Test was that when points are on offer they must be taken – you have to put points on the board,” said Teichmann.
“This weekend’s Test is absolutely crucial for the Boks. As we learned in 1997, the first game can decide the rest of the series and you want to make sure you start off well.
“That takes the pressure off for the second test.”