Greatest Bok team: ’98 vs ’09

Greatest Bok team: ’98 vs ’09


Nick Mallett’s 17 win-streak Boks battle the Lions slayers of ’09 in the first round of the mission to find the greatest Bok team of all time.

In ’97, Mallett was appointed coach of a struggling Bok side that hadn’t won a trophy since the ’95 World Cup, but things were about to change.

A huge 61-22 win over the Wallabies in August of ’97 kicked off what finished as the Boks’ greatest win streak of all time, going 17 Tests without tasting defeat.

The streak spanned almost a year and a half and included scalps over Australia and Ireland three times, respectively, two wins against the All Blacks, England, France, Scotland, and Wales, respectively, and a 62-31 thrashing of Italy.

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The Boks could also finally open up the trophy cabinet again, adding the 1998 Tri-Nations title to a collection that significantly expanded in the years that followed.

Two years after winning a second World Cup, the Boks were arguably at the peak of their powers, boasting a team stacked with superstars like Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Morne Steyn, and Jaques Fourie.

And thanks to the Bulls’ grip over southern hemisphere club rugby, the conveyor belt of new talent was running better than ever.

The victory over the 2009 British & Irish Lions might be what the particular Bok side is best remembered for, but arguably more impressive was their 3-0 whitewash of the All Blacks, a feat no one had accomplished before that culminated in the Boks lifting the Tri-Nations trophy.


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