Winner takes all in Wellington?
October 2, 2011
Matt Giteau has scored more points in this fixture than any other player © Getty Images
If history is anything to go by, South Africa's clash with Australia in Wellington this weekend is likely to produce the winner of this year's Rugby World Cup.
These two southern hemisphere rivals have met twice before in the tournament and on both occasions the victors went on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
The Springboks and the Wallabies found themselves in the same pool in 1995 and their eagerly-awaited clash in Cape Town was the tournament opener. The pair shared four tries, with Pieter Hendriks and Joel Stransky dotting for the Boks and Phil Kearns and Michael Lynagh crossing for the Wallabies.
But it was the boot of Stransky which ultimately decided the game in the hosts' favour, the fly-half landing four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion as the Boks' triumphed 27-18. It was a hugely significant win for the South Africans, as it provided them with the momentum which propelled them to glory.
The pair would lock horns again four years later, this time in the semi-finals at Twickenham. The Springboks were again in possession of a fly-half with a big boot, Jannie de Beer, who kicked six penalties and a drop goal, he was outshone by Matt Burke, the Wallabies fullback successful with eight strikes on goal as his side edged hom 27-21, their other three points coming courtesy of a drop goal from fly-half Stephen Larkham. The Aussies, buoyed by having dethroned the reigning champions, then took the title by taking France apart in the final.
So, whoever comes out on top at the Westpac Stadium on Sunday will doubtless be hoping that history repeats itself once more.
Australia v South Africa
All-time record: Played: 76, Australia won 31, South Africa won 44, drawn 1
Biggest winning margin: Aus: 49 (49-0 Brisbane 2006); SA: 45 (53-8 Johannesburg 2008)
Highest score: Aus: 49 (49-0 Brisbane 2006); SA: 61 (61-22 Pretoria 1997)
Most tries: Aus: 6 (49-0 Brisbane 2006); SA: 8 (28-3 Johannesburg 1961, 61-22 Pretoria 1997 and 53-8 Johannesburg 2008)
Most points (individual): Aus: 159 Matt Giteau; SA: 140 Percy Montgomery
Most tries (individual): Aus: 9 Matt Giteau; SA: 7 Breyton Paulse
Previous World Cup meetings: 2 (Australia 18-27 South Africa, Cape Town, 1995; Australia 27-21 South Africa, Twickenham, 1999
Click here for Australia's Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click here for South Africa's Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click here for a record of all Australia v South Africa matches courtesy of Statsguru
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September