The last time the Boks won a Test match in Brisbane, Morne du Plessis was making his debut at the age of 21

The last time the Springboks won a Test match in Brisbane, Morne du Plessis was making his debut at the age of 21, Hannes Marais of Eastern Province was the captain, legend Frik du Preez was 35 and playing his 36th test at lock and the halfback pairing was the Griquas pair of Joggie Viljoen and Piet Visagie.

It was the year 1971, and it has been the Boks’ ultimate bogey ground ever since. It is true that they did not play much in the Queensland capital until rugby went professional in 1996, but they have been fairly frequent visitors since then to the ground that is now known as the Suncorp Stadium (previously Lang park), and even the best Bok teams in the readmission area have failed at a ground that the Wallabies treasure as a strong hold, as is the case with the Boks at Ellis Park, where even the All Blacks have struggled to win.

Even when the Boks were at their peak under John Smit, in 2009, when they easily won the Tri-Nations, the match that prevented them from a clean sweep was the fixture in Brisbane.

They beat the All Blacks three times that year after having earlier won a series against the British and Irish Lions, and that campaign they had a convincing win in Perth, but the following week twere out played by a Wallabies team that had been struggling. The next week, the Boks went to Hamilton and were convincing winners against the All Blacks.

Since 1996, the Boks have won only three times in Australia, with all the victories coming in Perth, a city where rugby union comes a distant third to Aussie Rules and Rugby League, and while not quite an away game for the Wallabies it is certainly a more comfortable visit for the Boks given the massive ex-pat population in the Western Australian capital.

So what are the chances of the 2013 Boks triumphing in Brisbane when so many of their predecessors have failed?

Only the best Bok sides have won away from home in Australia and New Zealand. They have been special sides that went onto win South Africa’s three Tri-Nations titles.

Is this side under Jean de Villiers special? Not by a long shot. They may still build to be a very competitive side by the World Cup in 2015, but right now there are more questions than answers, and if they were to beat a desperate Wallabies team at their favoured ground on Saturday, it would be one of the Boks’ more famous victories.

The South Africans did not have the best start to the week because of the late arrivals of five players from weekend duty with their clubs in France.

That is crazy stuff and a result of the controversial game SARU are playing by allowing foreign-based players to be eligible for the Boks.

The likes of Bryan Habana and Morne Steyn went from playing Argentina in Mendoza to club rugby duty in France, to Brisbane to belatedly start preparations for a match at a venue where the Boks never win.

This should not be allowed to happen again. Heyneke Meyer has not said much publicly on the matter but privately he will be frustrated that a third of his team was in France on the one weekend when the Boks had a chance to rest before their Australasian leg.

And the Wallabies are hardly going to be in complacent mood. They have lost three Tests in a row, starting with the third Test against the Lions, and then two in a row under new coach Ewen Mackenzie, both against the All Blacks in the start to the Rugby Championship.

They are desperate, the Boks have still to prove they are beyond the ordinary. The smart money is certainly going to be on the locals.

by Mike Greenaway

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About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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