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The 1906-07 South Africa tour of Britain, Ireland and France was a collection of friendly rugby union games undertaken by the South Africa national rugby union team against the four British Home Nation teams. The tour also took in several matches against British and Irish club, county and invitational teams before finally travelling to France to play the national team.

This was the inaugrial South Africa tour and is recognised as the event that coined the phrase Springboks as a nickname for the South African team.

The tour was extremely successful for the South Africans which helped garner respect from the Northern Hemisphere teams and established South Africa as a formidable rugby playing country. In the tests played the team would only lose to Scotland and drew against England. The South African defeat of Wales was a shock to many critics and ended the international careers of some of the greatest Welsh players of the time. Out of 29 matches played, South Africa won 26, lost two and drew one.


Date Opponent Location Result Score
Match 1 September 27 East Midlands Northamptonmarker Won 37-0
Match 2 September 29 Midlands Leicestermarker Won 29-0
Match 3 October 3 Kent Rectory Fieldmarker, Blackheathmarker Won 21-0
Match 4 October 6 Durham Hartlepoolmarker Won 22–4
Match 5 October 10 Northumberland St James' Parkmarker, Newcastlemarker Won 44-0
Match 6 October 13 Yorkshire Headingleymarker, Leedsmarker Won 34–0
Match 7 October 17 Devon Devonportmarker Won 22-6
Match 8 October 20 Somerset Tauntonmarker Won 14-0
Match 9 October 24 Middlesex Richmondmarker Won 9–0
Match 10 October 27 Newport RFC Rodney Parademarker, Newportmarker Won 8-0
Match 11 October 31 Glamorgan County RFC Cardiff Arms Parkmarker, Cardiffmarker Won 6-3
Match 12 November 3 Gloucestershire Town Club Gloucestermarker Won 23–0
Match 13 November 7 Oxford University Oxfordmarker Won 24-3
Match 14 November 10 Cambridge University Cambridgemarker Won 29-0
Match 15 November 13 South of Scotland Mansfield Parkmarker, Hawickmarker Won 32–5
Match 16 November 17 SCOTLAND Hampden Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker Lost 0-6
Match 17 November 20 North of Scotland Pittodriemarker, Aberdeenmarker Won 35-3
Match 18 November 24 IRELAND Balmoral Showgrounds, Belfastmarker Won 15–12
Match 19 November 27 Dublin University Landsdowne Roadmarker, Dublinmarker Won 28-3
Match 20 December 1 WALES St Helensmarker, Swanseamarker Won 11-0
Match 21 December 8 ENGLAND Crystal Palacemarker, Londonmarker Drew 3–3
Match 22 December 12 Lancashire Fallowfieldmarker, Manchestermarker Won 11-8
Match 23 December 15 Cumberland Devonshire Park, Carlislemarker Won 21-0
Match 24 December 19 Surrey Richmondmarker Won 33–0
Match 25 December 22 Cornwall Redruthmarker Won 9-3
Match 26 December 26 Monmouthshire Rodney Parademarker, Newportmarker Won 17-0
Match 27 December 29 Llanelly Stradey Parkmarker, Llanellimarker Won 16–3
Match 28 January 1 1907 Cardiff RFC Cardiff Arms Parkmarker, Cardiffmarker Lost 0-17
Match 29 January 3 FRANCE Parc des Princesmarker, Parismarker Won 55-6

Touring party


Full Backs

Three quarters

Half Backs


The matches


Devon: F Lillicrapp (Albion), AJR Roberts (Exeter), J. Schulz (R.N. College, Dartmouth), De Smidt (Plymouth), F SCott (Bristol), R Jago (Albion), J Peters (Plymouth), W Mills (Albion), SG Williams, (Albion), J Cummings (Albion), EW Roberts (R.N. College, Dartmouth), TS Kelly (London Harlequins), GD Roberts (Exeter), Dix (R.N. College, Dartmouth), G Farr, (Torquay)

South Africa: AF Marsberg, JD Krige, JA Loubser, FJ Dobbin, P Roos (capt.), WA Burger, PA le Roux, DJ Brink, WC Martheze, JWE Raaff, WS Morkel, JG Hirsch, A Stegmann, HW Carolin, DF Morkel

The South African match against Devon is noted for events that occurred before the game began. On the day Devon fielded England international James Peters, the first black player to be capped for his country. On learning they would be facing a black player, the South Africans refused to take to the field. The South African High Commissioner, who was in the crowd, approached the Springboks and successfully persuaded them to play.


Newport: Dai Boots, Reg Plummer, WH Gunstone, S Adams, WR Thomas, Walter Martin, Tommy Vile, Charlie Pritchard capt., Edwin Thomas Maynard, Jehoida Hodges, William Dowell, Ernie Jenkins, H Davies, Harry Wetter, George Boots

South Africa: AF Marsberg, JD Krige, JS le Roux, FJ Dobbin, P Roos (capt.), WA Burger, PA le Roux, DJ Brink, AC Stegmann, JWE Raaff, HA de Villiers, DC Jackson, D Brooks, DS Mare, DF Morkel


Glamorgan: Bert Winfield (Cardiff), Hopkin Maddock (London Welsh), Billy Trew (Swansea), Rhys Gabe (Cardiff), Teddy Morgan (London Welsh) (capt.), H Toft (Swansea), Dicky Owen (Swansea), John Alf Brown (Cardiff), G Northmore (Cardiff), Billy O'Neill (Cardiff), Dai Jones (Aberdare), Jack Williams (London Welsh), Will Joseph (Cardiff), H Hunt (Cardiff), Dick Thomas (Mountain Ash)

South Africa: AF Marsberg, JA Loubser, JD Krige, FJ Dobbin, P Roos (capt.), WA Burger, DJ Brink, AC Stegmann, JWE Raaff, HA de Villiers, D Brooks, HW Carolin, DF Morkel, WS Morkel, WA Millar


Scotland: JG Scoular, KG MacLeod, T Sloan, MW Walter, ABHL Purves, LL Greig capt., P Munro, HG Monteith, IC Geddes, JC MacCallum, David Bedell-Sivright, GM Frew, LM Spiers, WP Scott, WH Thomson

South Frica: AFW Marsberg, AC Stegmann, HA de Villiers, JD Kriege, JA Loubser, HW Carolin capt., FJ Dobbin, WAG Burger, HJ Daneel, DJ Brink, D Brooks, JWE Raaff, AF Burdett, WS Morkel, DS Mare


Ireland GJ Henebrey, HB Thrift, RPC Gotto, James Cecil Parke, Basil Maclear, TTH Robinson, ED Caddell, A Tedford, CE Allen capt., HS Sugars, GT Hamlet, M White, G McIldowie, HG Wilson, JJ Coffey

South Africa: SJ Joubert, AC Stegmann, JH Hirsh, JD Krige, JA Loubser, DC Jackson, HW Carolin, WAG Burger, HJ Daneel,, AF Burdett, PJ Roos capt., WC Martheze, DFT Morkel, WS Morkel, PA Le Roux


Wales: John Dyke (Penarth), Teddy Morgan (London Welsh), Gwyn Nicholls (Cardiff) capt., Rhys Gabe (Cardiff), Johnnie Williams (Cardiff), Percy Bush (Cardiff), Dicky Owen (Swansea), Will Joseph (Swansea), George Travers, (Pill Harriersmarker), Dai Jones (Treherbert), Arthur Harding (London Welsh), Jack Jenkins (London Welsh), Jack Williams (London Welsh), Charlie Pritchard (Newport), Dick Thomas, (Mountain Ash)

South Africa: AF Marsberg, S Joubert, HA de Villiers, JD Krige, JA Loubser, DC Jackson, FJ Dobbin, P Roos capt., WA Burger, HJ Daneel, PA le Roux, DJ Brink, WC Martheze, JWE Raaff, WS Morkel

Before the game hopes were high that the Welsh would be able to see off the South African threat. As one commentator wrote, "There was nothing in the South African's play to forbid Welsh hopes of repeating their success of last season...", harking back to Wales' famous victory over the All Blacks. When a Glamorgan XV team, which contained many Welsh caps that were to face South Africa, could only manage a drew against Gloucester, it caused some people to re-think the team's chances of winning. This caused an outcry for Welsh star, Gwyn Nicholls, to come out of international retirement to face South Africa. Even the South African players' voiced their disappointment at not facing Nicholls on the pitch. When Billy Trew withdrew from the Glamorgan XV against Monmouthshire on November 22, Nicholls was the surprise replacement, and a few days later Nicholls told the Daily Mirror that he intended to "have a shot at the Springboks"

On the day of the match, South Africa were without some of their star players, including lead try scorer Stegmann, who had suffered a leg strain in the Belfast encounter. However, captain and talisman Paul Roos was back in the squad though sporting a heavy pad on his injured shoulder. The weather on the day was dry and the hard pitch suited the visitors. After an aggressive but blunt opening from the hosts, the South Africans found their pace and quickly took advantage. By half time the tourist were 6-0 ahead with tries from Joubert and Loubser. Gwyn Nicholls had a particularly poor game, wasting a panicked kick from Marsberg in the first half and throughout the game he and Gabe were so tightly marked that they were ineffective. In the second half it was a Nicholls error that handed the Springboks their third try when he caught a high ball safely, only to release it into open play. 'Klondyke' Raaff dribbled the ball away and scored a try that Joubert duly converted. The final result was 11-0 to the visitors; the majority of Welsh crowd were silenced by such a terrible result, though enough good-will was shown to carry captain Roos, and the constantly impressive Marsberg from the pitch.

After the games there were many ramifications for the Welsh team. The papers stated that the weakness shown by the forwards, and too many old players in the pack, were the reasons for the poor Welsh display. The Welsh Rugby Union reacted to the press comments by dropping many of the players from international rugby. Those players that would never again represent their country included, Dai Jones, Will Joseph, Gwyn Nicholls and Jack Williams; just one year after the legendary game against the All Blacks.


England: JGG Birkett, A Alcock, EJ 'John' Jackett, FG Brooks, CH Shaw, R Dibble, W Mills, HE Shewring, T Simpson, BA Hill, VH Cartwright, TS Kelly, J Green, AD Stoop, R Jago

South Africa: SJ Joubert, AFW Marsberg, HA de Villiers, SC de Melker, JA Loubser, DC Jackson, FJ Dobbin, WA Millar, HJ Daneel,, DJ Brink, PJ Roos capt., JWE Raaff, DFT Morkel, WS Morkel, PA Le Roux


Monmouthshire: Jack Roberts (Blaina), Llew Llewellyn (Pill Harriersmarker), John Hart Evans (Pontypool), Jack P. Jones (Pontypool), Billy Bowen (Abertillery), James Jones (Pontypool), Dai Beynon (Pontypool), Ernie Williams (Pontnewydd), George Travers (capt.) (Pill Harriersmarker), Jake Blackmore (Abertillery), Jim Webb (Abertillery), Rees Thomas (Pontypool),Jack Foley (Brynmawr), Jack Jones (Cwmbran), Jack Jenkins (London Welsh)


Llanelli: G. Thomas, William Richard Arnold, Rhys Gabe, G. Rowe, W. Thomas, H. Thomas, D. Lloyd, J. Auckland, Harry Vaughan Watkins, H. Cole, G. Dobbs, J. Watts, Nathaniel Walters capt., W. Cole, T. Evans

South Africa AFW Marsberg, JA Loubser, JG Hirsch, HA de Villiers, AC Stegmann, DC Jackson, FJ Dobbin, PJ Roos capt., WAG Burger, WA Millar DJ Brink, D Brooks, HJ Danell, DFT Morkel, JWE Raaff


Cardiff: Bert Winfield, Cecil Biggs, Rhys Gabe, Gwyn Nicholls, Johnnie Williams, Percy Bush capt., Reggie Gibbs, Dickie David, Alfred Brice, G Northmore, Jack Powell, F Smith, John Alf Brown, J Casey, Billy O'Neill

South Africa: AFW Marsberg, JA Loubser, JG Hirsh, HA de Villiers, AG Stegmann, DC Jackson, FJ Dobbin, PJ Roos, capt., WA Millar, DFT Morkel, DJ Brink, HJ Daneel, PA le Roux, JWE Raaff, DS Mare


France do not include this match in their official records and no caps were awarded.



  1. Parry-Jones (1999), pg 188.
  2. Parry-Jones (1999), pg 180.
  3. Parry-Jones (1999), pg 181.
  4. Parry-Jones (1999), pg 186.

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