Blasts from the past: Pienaar makes his Bok debut in 1993
Today in SA sports history: June 26
1937 — The Springboks play their first of five Tests in their tour of Australia and New Zealand. They kick off in Sydney in their first away match against the Wallabies, and they narrowly beat the home side 9-5, with tries by flanker Ebbo Bastard and lock Ferdie Bergh. Fullback Gerry Brand added a penalty. Australian captain Cyril Towers scored all his team’s points, converting his own try.
1965 — The Springboks lose narrowly to Australia in Brisbane, going down 4-12 to lose the two-match series 2-0 and extend their losing streak to five matches. The visitors even won the try count 2-0, with legendary centre John Gainsford and winger Trix Truter dotting down. But four penalties by Australia give them the win.
1993 — Former WBO lightweight champion Dingaan Thobela wins his second world crown, dethroning WBA titleholder Tony Lopez at Sun City. It was sweet revenge for the Rose of Soweto who had lost a controversial decision to Lopez for the same belt in Sacramento a few months earlier. This was the same Lopez who had engaged in two wars with Brian Mitchell at junior-lightweight two years earlier. Thobela would win a third world title seven years later.
1993 — Springbok captain Francois Pienaar makes his international debut, but his team is held to a 20-20 draw at King’s Park by France in the first of a two-match series. Hooker Uli Schmidt scored the team’s only try with fullback Theo van Rensburg adding five penalties. French winger Philippe Saint-Andre scored his team’s only try, with halfbacks Aubin Hueber and Alain Penaud dropping goals and centre Thierry Lacroix kicking three penalties. Also making their debuts for South Africa that day were flyhalf Hennie le Roux and lock Kobus Wiese who, along with Pienaar, would be key members of the 1995 World Cup team.
1999 — It’s unlucky 13 for the Springboks as they lose to Wales for the first time in their history. Unbeaten in their 12 previous outings (11 wins and a draw), they go down 19-29 in the first-ever international at the new Millennium stadium in Cardiff that will host the World Cup final later that year. The teams score two tries apiece, but flyhalf Neil Jenkins lands both conversions and five penalties to secure the historic victory.
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