1931–32 South Africa rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland

The 1931–32 South Africa tour of Britain and Ireland was a collection of friendly rugby union games undertaken by the South Africa national team against the four British Home Nation teams. The tour also took in several matches against British and Irish club, county and invitational teams. This was the fourth South Africa tour and the third tour of the Northern Hemisphere.

1931–32 South Africa rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland
Springboks 1931 tour.jpg
The touring squad
26 23 02 01
Test match
04 04 00 00
1 1 0 0
1 1 0 0
1 1 0 0
1 1 0 0

The tour was extremely successful for the South Africans, as the team only lost a single match. In the tests played the team beat all four home nations. The only team to beat the Springboks was the invitational East Midlands county team. The final tour record saw 26 matches played, with South Africa winning 23, losing one and drawing two.

Criticism of playing styleEdit

Although very successful on the pitch, the touring South Africans were unloved by their hosts and the press back home. Bennie Osler, the South African captain, introduced a style of play which centred on a continual kicking game; either into touch in an attempt to support his large pack or diagonally across the pitch for his wings to chase. This was seen by many critics of the time as 10-man tactics, with the backs taken out of the match, and thus the entertainment brought by previous South African tours removed.

Welsh journalist 'Old Stager' stated "The Africans, by adherence to ten-man rugby, are winning their matches, but are not capturing the hearts and the imagination of rugby followers...". O.L. Owen in his History of the RFU concurred with these thoughts, "The least spectacular and, so far as back play was concerned, the most disappointing of the South African touring sides..."[1]


Date Opponent Location Result Score
Match 1 Gloucester and Somerset Bristol Won 14–3
Match 2 8 October Newport RFC Rodney Parade, Newport Won 15–3
Match 3 10 October Swansea RFC St Helens, Swansea Won 10–3
Match 4 14 October Abertillery and Cross Keys Abertillery Park, Abertillery Won 10–9
Match 5 London Twickenham, London Won 30–3
Match 6 Midland Counties Villa Park, Birmingham Won 13–3
Match 7 Durham and Northumberland Roker Park, Sunderland Won 41–0
Match 8 28 October[2] Glasgow Anniesland Won 21–13
Match 9 31 October[3] South of Scotland Melrose, Scotland Drawn 0–0
Match 10 Cambridge University Cambridge Won 21–9
Match 11 Combined Services Twickenham, London Won 23–0
Match 12 Oxford University Oxford Won 24–3
Match 13 14 November Leicestershire and East Midlands Welford Road, Leicester Lost 21–30
Match 14 Devon and Cornwall Devonport Drawn 3–3
Match 15 21 November Cardiff Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Won 13–5
Match 16 24 November Llanelli Stradey Park, Llanelli Won 9–0
Match 17 28 November Neath and Aberavon The Gnoll, Neath Won 8–3
Match 18 5 December   Wales St Helens, Swansea Won 8–3
Match 19 Lancashire and Cheshire Waterloo Won 20–9
Match 20 Ulster Ravenhill, Belfast Won 30–3
Match 21 19 December   Ireland Dublin Won 8–3
Match 22 London Twickenham, London Won 16–8
Match 23 2 January 1932   England Twickenham, London Won 7–0
Match 24 Cumberland and Yorkshire Workington Won 27–5
Match 25 9 January 1932[4] North of Scotland Aberdeen Won 9–0
Match 26 16 January 1932   Scotland Murrayfield, Edinburgh Won 6–3

Touring partyEdit


Full backsEdit


Half backsEdit


The matchesEdit


8 October 1931
Newport 3–15 South Africa
Try: Richards Try: Zimerman
SC Louw
van der Merwe
Pen: Brand
Rodney Parade
Attendance: 70,000
Referee: RW Barry   (Cardiff)

Newport: WA Everson, Jack Morley (capt.), K Richards, JR Edwards, K Watkins, Dicky Ralph, R Tovey, JC Slade, J Hughes, JA Addison, Harry Peacock, R Newton, DA Jones, P Hordern, Sam Danahar

South Africa: GH Brand, M Zimerman, JH van der Westhuizen, JC van der Westhuizen, FW Wearing, BL Osler, P de Villiers, MM Louw, PJ Mostert, SC Louw, JN Bierman, SR du Toit, PJ Nel, AJ van der Merwe, GM Daneel


10 October 1931
Swansea 3–10 South Africa
Try: Davey Try: Brand
JC van der Westhuizen
Con: Brand
St Helens
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: TH Phillips   (Pontypridd)

Swansea: Iorrie Herbert, Rhys Evans, Jack Rees (capt.), Claude Davey, Jim Dark, Dennis Manley, Idwal Rees, Bryn Evans, Tom Day, Glyn Jones, Gwynfor Lewis, Dai Thomas, Will Davies, Joe White, Edgar Long

South Africa: JC Tindall, JH van der Westhuizen, JC van der Westhuizen (capt.), FW Wearing, GH Brand, MG Francis, DH Craven, MM Louw, HG Kipling, SC Louw, AJ van der Merwe, V Geere, HM Forrest, GM Daneel, JAJ McDonald

Abertillery and Cross KeysEdit

14 October 1931
Abertillery and Cross Keys 9–10 South Africa
Try: Thomas (2)
Pen: O'Neill
Try: Du Toit
van der Merwe
Con: Osler (2)
Abertillery Park
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: WJ Llewellyn   (Bridgend)

Abertillery/Cross Keys: Jimmy O'Neill (Abertillery) (capt.), Jim Bird (Abertillery), George Thompson (Cross Keys), Gerald Lewis (Cross Keys), JR Davies (Cross Keys), Syd Watkins (Cross Keys), Albert Hockey (Abertillery), Mel Meek (Abertillery), Lonza Bowdler (Cross Keys), Ken Salmon (Cross Keys), Steve Morris (Cross Keys), Trevor Thomas (Abertillery), Eddie Lloyd (Abertillery), RT Probert (Cross Keys), Albert Fear (Abertillery)

South Africa: JC Tindall, JH van der Westhuizen, BG Gray, J White, M Zimmerman, BL Osler (capt.), DH Craven, PJ Mostert, HG Kipling, SR du Toit, V Geere, PJ Nel, LC Strachan, JB Dold, AJ van der Merwe


28 October 1931
Glasgow District 13–21 South Africa
Try: Nicholson
Con Shaw
Pen Scott
Report Try: Zimmerman (2)
Con: Brand (3)
Pen Brand
Old Anniesland
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: JFC Moffat  

Leicestershire and East MidlandsEdit

14 November 1931
Leicestershire and East Midlands 30-21 South Africa
Try: Slow (2)
Cons: Weston (4)
Pen: Weston
Drop Goal: Slow
Try: Zimmerman (4)
Con: Francis
Drop Goal: Francis
Welford Road
Attendance: 25,000

Leicestershire and East Midlands:Bobby Barr (Leicester); Jeff Hardwicke (Leicester), Ralph Buckingham (Leicester), Charlie Brumwell (Bedford), Len Ashwell (Bedford); Charles Slow (Northampton), Bernard Gadney (Leicester); Henry Greenwood (Leicester), Doug Norman (Leicester), Ray Longland (Northampton), Thomas Harris (Northampton), Anthony Roncoroni (West Herts), William Weston (Northampton), George Beamish (Leicester), Eric Coley (Northampton)
South Africa: Tindall; Venter, van der Westhuizen, Gray, Zimmerman; Francis, Craven; Louw, Mostert, du Toit, Nel, Strachan, Bierman, Dold, Daneel


21 November 1931
Cardiff 5–13 South Africa
Try: Boon
Con: Stone
Try: Zimerman
Con: Brand (2)
Cardiff Arms Park
Attendance: 34,000
Referee: WH Harris   (Risca)

Cardiff: Tommy Stone, Ronnie Boon, Graham Jones, Bernard Turnbull, John Roberts, Harry Bowcott (capt.), Maurice Turnbull, Tom Lewis, Don Tarr, Tom Gadd, Archie Skym, Viv Osmond, Colin Ross, Bob Barrell, Iorrie Isaacs

South Africa: GH Brand, M Zimerman, BG Gray, JC van der Westhuizen, D Owen Williams, BL Osler (capt.), P de Villiers, MM Louw, PJ Mostert, SR du Toit, AJ van der Merwe, WF Bergh, V Geere, JN Bierman, JAJ McDonald


24 November 1931
Llanelli 0–9 South Africa
Try: Try: van der Westhuizen

Llanelli: Bryn Howells, Wattie Lewis, Sid Howells, Tom Evans, Horace Fairhurst, Dai John, Bert Jones, Bryn Evans, Jack Williams, Edgar Jones, Cliff Treharne, Alf Parker, Will Lang, Jim Lang, Ivor Jones (capt.)

South Africa: GH Brand, D Williams, BG Gray, JH van der Westhuizen, FW Waring, MM Louw (capt.), DH Craven, MG Francis, HG Kipling, V Geere, GM Daneel, PJ Nel, WF Bergh, JN Bierman, LC Strachan

Neath and AberavonEdit

28 November 1931
Neath & Aberavon 3–8 South Africa
Try: Hopkins Try: Mostert
Con: Osler
Pen: Osler
The Gnoll
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: J Megins   (Pontyclun)

Neath & Aberavon: Phil Lloyd (Neath), Dan Jones (Neath), Glyn Daniels (Neath), Gwyn Moore (Neath), Fred Nicholas (Aberavon), Wilf Selby (Aberavon), Tal Harris (Aberavon), Tom Arthur (Neath), Miah McGrath (Aberavon), Ned Jenkins (Aberavon), Walter Vickery (Aberavon), Gordon Hopkins (Neath), Arthur Lemon (Neath), Cyril Griffiths (Aberavon) (Capt.), Glyn Prosser (Neath)

South Africa: JC Tindall, M Zimerman, J White, JC van der Westhuizen, FD Venter, BL Osler (capt.), DH Craven, SR du Toit, HG Kipling, PJ Mostert, AJ van der Merwe, PJ Nel, WF Bergh, JB Dold, JAJ McDonald


5 December 1931
  Wales 3–8   South Africa
Try: Davies Try: Daneel
Con: Osler
St Helens
Attendance: 70,000
Referee: E. Holmes   (England)

Wales: Jack Bassett (Penarth) (capt.), Jack Morley (Newport), Claude Davey (Swansea), Frank Williams (Cardiff), Ronnie Boon (Cardiff), Dicky Ralph (Newport), Wick Powell (London Welsh), Tom Day (Swansea), Lonza Bowdler, (Cross Keys), Archie Skym (Cardiff), Ned Jenkins (Aberavon), Tom Arthur (Neath), Arthur Lemon (Neath), Watcyn Thomas (Swansea), Will Davies (Swansea)

South Africa: GH Brand, M Zimerman, BG Gray, J White, FD Ventor, DH Craven, PJ Mostert, BL Osler (capt.), HG Kipling, MM Louw, AJ van der Marwe, WF Bergh, PJ Nel, GM Daneel, JAJ McDonald


19 December 1931
  Ireland 3–8   South Africa
Pen: McMahon Try: Waring
Con: Osler
Lansdowne Road
Attendance: 35,000

Ireland: Major Egan, Edward Lightfoot, Eugene Davy, Morgan Crowe, Joxer Arigho, Laurence McMahon, Paul Murray, Hal Withers, Victor Pike, Jimmy Farrell, Jack Russell, Jack Siggins, Noel Murphy, George Beamish (c), Jamie Clinch

South Africa: Gerry Brand, Morris Zimerman, Franky Waring, C van der Westhuizen, Ponie van der Westhuizen, Bennie Osler (c), Danie Craven, Boy Louw, Bert Kipling, Phil Mostert, Flip Nel, Ferdie Bergh, Nick Bierman, Andre McDonald, George Daneel


2 January 1932
  England 0–7   South Africa
Try: Bergh
Drop: Brand
Attendance: 70,000


16 January 1932
  Scotland 3–6   South Africa
Try: Lind Try: Osler
Attendance: 65,000


  • Billot, John (1974). Springboks in Wales. Ferndale: Ron Jones Publications.
  • Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3.


  1. ^ Billot (1974), pg 126.
  2. ^ "The Glasgow Herald - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
  3. ^ Rowans Rugby Guide. Scottish edition. 1931-32. pub Rowans Ltd. 70 Buchanan St. Glasgow
  4. ^ Rowans Rugby Guide. Scottish edition. 1931-32. pub Rowans Ltd. 70 Buchanan St. Glasgow