It stays England’s file victory over South Africa and one in every of — if not probably the most — brutal video games ever to have taken place on the hallowed Twickenham turf.
For everybody linked with the Springboks, their 53-3 defeat on the dwelling of English rugby in 2002 will at all times be remembered as a day of disgrace, not only for the outcome however for the reprehensible strategy taken by their crew.
Thuggery, low-cost pictures and over-the-top physicality had been the order of the day. Led by their captain Corne Krige, South Africa got down to unsettle England with brute power.
England’s Ben Cohen pushes away Robbie Fleck of South Africa in the course of the fiery encounter
Not solely did it fail, the Springbok strategy additionally tainted the legacy of a proud nation. Even now, 20 years on and because the two sides put together to satisfy once more on Saturday, the 80 minutes is not simply forgotten by those that took to the sphere that day.
For Krige, it stays an enormous supply of remorse. ‘There are many recollections from that day I would prefer to overlook,’ Krige advised Sportsmail. ‘They nonetheless stick to me. Rather a lot went down that day. A whole lot of the actions I am not happy with as a Springbok captain. What occurs within the warmth of battle generally makes individuals lose their head and I did that day. I am not happy with it.’
Krige performed the function of lead villain and hitman for South Africa. His reckless swinging arm di lui on Matt Dawson almost took the England scrum-half’s head from his shoulders. Krige additionally stamped recklessly on prop Phil Vickery in the identical play after the whistle had gone.
Analyzing the sport on Sky Sports activities’ Rugby Membership, Stuart Barnes and Dewi Morris described Krige’s recklessness as ‘5 seconds of insanity’. The fact present was 80 minutes of lunacy.
Jannes Labuschagne was despatched off for a reckless, late sort out on Jonny Wilkinson
Morris known as South Africa’s strategy ‘absolute thuggery’.
In a pitiful try and beat Sir Clive Woodward’s England, who grew to become world champions the next 12 months, Krige and South Africa misplaced management. Their strategy might be finest summed up as calculated violence.
‘South Africa had been simply intent on maiming someone,’ mentioned former England again Jason Robinson, who wore the No 15 shirt in 2002. ‘That is why it was such a giant rating. Their focus was on hurting us, not on enjoying the sport. There was all types happening — headbutts, elbows, booting, the lot.’
South Africa arrived at Twickenham twenty years in the past beset by accidents and on the again of defeats by France and Scotland. England, underneath Woodward, had been flying excessive.
The distinction could not have been larger. To attempt to bridge the hole, South Africa tried to unsettle England bodily, however not inside the legal guidelines of the sport.
Referee Paddy O’Brien despatched off Springbok second-row Jannes Labuschagne for a reckless, late sort out on Jonny Wilkinson. Frankly, Krige ought to have adopted him in seeing crimson.
‘I want we might achieved issues in another way,’ mentioned Krige. ‘It wasn’t the plan from the start. As we obtained additional and additional into the sport, the plan modified in my thoughts. I’ve apologised many instances. It is 20 years in the past now which is sort of a very long time. Over time you be taught to forgive your self and likewise that different individuals forgive.
‘Fortunately, time is a healer and you start to just accept it. A crimson card did not assist us and it went from there. There aren’t nice recollections of Twickenham for me.’
South Africa captain Corne Krige grapples with Phil Vickery in the course of the Twickenham conflict
Krige landed punches on Robinson, Wilkinson and Lawrence Dallaglio plus a flying headbutt on Dawson. His team-mates had been additionally at it.
South Africa focused England’s gamers off the ball and obtained away with a lot of the soiled methods.
‘It was most likely one of the crucial violent video games I’ve ever been in,’ mentioned Robinson with a smile. ‘Clive put a video collectively of all of the incidents. You realize sure issues are taking place if you’re enjoying, however when that video was put collectively, it made you understand how unhealthy it had been.
‘The way in which to reply was to place a excessive rating in opposition to them and that is what we did. I’ve at all times seen South Africa as probably the most bodily crew in rugby. They’re bodily sufficient with out crossing the road,’ Robinson added.
Phil Christophers (above) was amongst 4 England gamers to undergo head accidents
‘That 2002 sport was a disappointment. It was one factor after one other. The times of that kind of stuff are lengthy gone, fortunately. If I had wished to have performed like that I might have taken up combined martial arts or boxing!’
England paid the value bodily for South Africa’s assault. Star fly-half Wilkinson was pressured off after being batted into submission. Wilkinson, Robinson, Dawson and Phil Christophers all suffered head knocks. Regardless of that, Woodward’s facet nonetheless performed some sensible rugby.
They scored seven tries, with Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood producing trademark efforts. There was additionally a penalty attempt after Christophers was worn out with a excessive sort out.
After the reckless show from his crew, then-Springbok head coach Rudolf Straeuli in some way tried to defend his facet’s strategy. ‘We’re a bodily facet and so are they,’ Straeuli mentioned. ‘Two of our gamers got here off concussed. Do you assume we gave ourselves concussion?’
The irony for Straeuli and South Africa is that’s precisely what had occurred.
As Krige tried to wipe out Dawson, he made contact with team-mate Andre Pretorius — who was pressured off. It summed up a shameful day for South African rugby, one which nonetheless haunts these concerned.