A look back at the 1937 Springboks team and how they won the tour.
The Springboks of 1937 are still regarded as the best. Shot through with great players such as Boy Louw, Ferdie Bergh, Danie Craven and Gerrie Brand, they were led by Kranskop farmer Philip Nel.
The match at Eden Park was the most important of the tour, with the series locked at one win apiece.
Inside centre Louis Babrow, who scored two of the five Bok tries, recalled being unable to sleep the night before. At 1am he came downstairs to the foyer of the hotel and was met by Nel, alighting from a taxi in full evening dress, having been to a black-tie function. But on the day both were titans.
Babrow, a 22-year-old medical student, sidestepped his way through a host of would-be tacklers all afternoon, while Nel used his physical stature as a rallying point for the mighty Bok pack. Aware that the All Blacks had spent the week practising their line-out, Nel opted to scrum instead, in the days when you had a choice of set piece if the ball crossed the touchline.
The other moment of tactical genius came from scrumhalf Craven to set up Babrow’s second try. Craven was the man who perfected the dive pass, and early in the second half he exploited its notoriety. From a scrum on halfway, Craven waved his flyhalf, Tony Harris, farther and farther away. Then blindside wing Freddie Turner received a short pass from Craven and hurtled through the gap created by the New Zealand flyhalf, who had been tracking Harris.
In the days before players paused to tweet before returning to the hotel, the Boks partied long and hard. Flanker Ebbo Bastard had trouble persuading the Auckland police of his real name after a prank involving a lamppost and a rugby ball.
And having been persuaded out of retirement to make the tour, Nel rightly assumed he had no new worlds to conquer; on the boat home he hurled his rugby boots into the sea.