Crossing the Indian Ocean to play in South Africa is a challenge so who has the best record on the continent?
With the Brumbies and Reds in South Africa this weekend and the Jaguares coming off a strong victory away to the Sharks, now is an opportune time to examine which overseas side performs the best on the land. The 2019 Super Rugby campaign has already seen the Jaguares (two) and the Chiefs (one) walk away with victories, while the Rebels pushed the Lions extremely close in Round 5 at Emirates Airlines Park (33-36).
The most successful team in Super Rugby history, the Crusaders, have unsurprisingly flown out of South Africa with the most wins. Crusaders centre Jack Goodhue has touched down for a try in each of his last three matches in South Africa, including a double in a May 2017 encounter with the Bulls. Jack will have a chance to continue his try streak in the 2019 Super Rugby campaign when the Crusaders venture over to run with the Bulls in Round 13 before they meet the Stormers in Round 14 to close out their South Africa tour.
The Brumbies are the most successful Super Rugby team from outside the New Zealand Conference with their 20 victories in South Africa; the Canberra club will be relying on their fleet-footed outside back Thomas Banks for offensive inspiration on Saturday against the Stormers. Banks has crossed over for a try in both of his Super Rugby appearances in South Africa, including a double in his first South African road trip against the Lions in Round 14, 2018.
The Jaguares’ four wins in South Africa include two victories from their last two South African matches in the 2019 Super Rugby season. Flanker Pablo Matera has been a shining light when the Jaguares have come to play in South Africa. Pablo has scored a try in each of his last two Super Rugby matches there, including a double in his most recent fixture in South Africa (Round 9, 2019 v Sharks).
Unsurprisingly the Crusaders rank top when it comes to scoring points in South Africa, although it is the Waratahs who can boast the best defensive record there – those efforts helping them win just over a third of their matches in the country. Perhaps the most telling fact is apart from the Crusaders no team can hold up a positive winning record in South Africa, proving just how difficult it is to win there in Super Rugby.