A look back at the Boks blitzing England at the 2007 World Cup

A look back at the Boks blitzing England at the 2007 World Cup

Ahead of Saturday's blockbuster semi-final, we look back at the Boks' most dominant win over rivals England.

Before the 2007 World Cup, players, fans and pundits alike were wondering which Springbok side would turn up in France.

Would it be the one who put 50 points on defending world champions England in back-to-back test matches earlier in the year? Or the side that lost three in a row in a disastrous Tri-Nations series?

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Up against England in a key pool match, a ruthless Bok side guided by master tactician Fourie du Preez made sure it was the former…

Rated the best scrumhalf in the world at the time, Du Preez would execute coach Jake White's game plan to perfection, keeping England pegged back for most of the opening half. He also helped create the first try, running support for a breaking JP Pietersen before putting away Juan Smith with a well-timed pass.

When a 20-year-old Francois Steyn slotted a penalty, England were already 10-0 down after just 11 minutes. Unfortunately for the Three Lions, the worst was yet to come.

England’s kicking game was off while the Boks cleaned up well at the back and played a territorial game. Compounding England’s problems was poor ball retention as the superior Bok loose forwards dominated at the breakdown.

After another turnover at ruck time, Du Preez spun out of a tackle and ran 35 metres before putting Pietersen away on his outside, giving the Boks a 20-0 lead at half-time.

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While the Boks played better in the second stanza, their suffering was not over. The fleet-footed Jason Robinson, England’s only spark in a dim backline, was extinguished in the 58th minute when he pulled his hamstring. The fullback made for a sorry sight as he was helped off the field, hobbling while grimacing in pain, his blood-stained shirt a representation of the failed battle.

Shortly after, yet another visionary snipe from Du Preez drew two defenders and left Pietersen open on the far touchline to run in for his second try.

Cries of "Ole ole, ole" rang round the Stade de France, with one of those voices being Johnny Clegg. The South African musical icon was sitting in a row below White in the stands.

There was a rather odd decision to kick for goal in the 79th minute and metronome Percy Montgomery obliged to make the famous 36-0 scoreline, a record defeat for England. The reinvented fullback would notch up 18 points from his accurate boot, well on his way to being the tournament's top points scorer.

When asked why South Africa opted to kick that late penalty rather than go for a bonus-point try, a grinning White responded: "The players like scoring points against England."

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