The Springboks’ first victory over France in France in 16 years has capped off a season of marked improvement for Heyneke Meyer (coach), Jean de Villiers (captain) and their team.
The 19-10 win over France at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday evening, was the Springboks’ 10th out of 12 Tests this year, making the 2013 seasons statistically their most successful since 1998.
Including November 2012’s victories over Ireland, Scotland and England, the Boks have won 13 of their last 15 Tests.
With a winning percentage of 83.33%, the 2013 season will rank with those of 1995, when the Boks won all their games and the Rugby World Cup on home soil, 1998 (11 from 12 for 91.76%) and 2007 (14 from 17 for 82.35%) as the best since South Africa’s readmission in 1992.
The 47 tries the Boks scored in 2013 is also the most in a single season since 2007, when they scored 81 in 17 Tests. Since readmission in 1992, South Africa only got more tries in a season in 2007, 1999 (52 in 13 Tests) and 1997 (74 in 13 Tests). In 1998, they also scored 47.
Furthermore, the Springboks are the only side not to have lost a Test in the November Internationals since the last Rugby World Cup, with six wins in as many matches.
“We’ve had a good year and I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made as a team and in our results in 2013,” said Meyer.
“To finish the season with three good wins in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Paris is special, but we realise we are far from where we want to be and will keep on working hard to achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
“The players deserve a lot of the credit though. Not only for the way they’ve played this season, but also for being the most humble group of men I’ve worked with, who put in massive amounts of hard work on the training field and for being a team South Africa can be proud of.
“We also enjoyed tremendous backing in South Africa as well as abroad and we’d like to thank our supporters for standing behind the team – it really means a lot to all of us.”
Springbok milestones in 2013:
• Their 73-13 win over Argentina at the FNB Stadium in Soweto was the biggest overall win in the history of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship / Tri-Nations.
• The nine tries they scored against Los Pumas was the most ever in a Rugby Championship match.
• The Springboks won their first-ever Test over Australia at Suncorp Stadium when they beat the Wallabies by 38-12. It was also their first win in Brisbane since 1971 and the first time since 2001’s 20-15 win in Pretoria that they managed to keep the Australians try-less.
• The 24-15 win over Wales in Cardiff was only second time since 1994 that the Welsh could not score a try against the Springboks. The other time was in 2008.
• South Africa’s 28-0 win at Murrayfield in Edinburgh was the first time since 1951 that Scotland could not score a point against the Springboks.
• The Springboks recorded their first victory over France in France since 1997.