Since 1910, of the records I can find, we’ve played 334 matches…
Won 207 (63.69%)
Yet, we lost 58 of those 102 since 1993 in 169 matches and drew 4. Won 98.
So, if we strip out the era since 1993 we arrive at:
Won: 109 (71%)
Which means that our winning percentage was 71% prior to amalgamating the various bodies and stepping out on our brave road to a new future.
The All Blacks, to date, with absolutely no social upheaval, have a winning percentage of 74%.
Strip out all the wins we’ve provided them since 1993 – or at least a good deal of them, and extrapolate if South Africa could have forged forward with none of the political disruption and we’d be very close, if not better.
There are two major issues that hammered our record:
One, even though we were ‘shamateurs’ or semi-professional for quite a while, SARU never took the real steps to go utterly professional. They still haven’t.
Two, there has been a premium to pay for transformation, whether it was in carrying non-entities like Judge Nkanunu, Arthrob Petersen or entertaining empire sackers like Brian van Rooyen or a host of other nonsense at every level.
However, that’s not to say that transformation, per se, was bad, it was the application of transformation from the very first day that was abysmal with white kingmakers holding onto power by jiggling puppet strings in the background whilst appointing public window dressers.
This process, and absorbing the unexpected riches from the News Corp deal, so occupied their time that they totally took their eye off the ball of ensuring genuine merit transformation was taking place in lower structures.
If they’d taken a serious and professional approach to this back in 1993, Jake White wouldn’t be caught in verbal semantics today, Jake White wouldn’t be playing players we all know are not the best in their position today.
Hindsight is an exact science and it would be stupid to downplay the very real fears that existed back in 1993 but it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that if we’d really embraced professionalism back then, if we’d really taken a sincere and genuine approach to transformation in a responsible manner, we’d be much closer to an overall 71% than our real 63%.