An excerpt from Guardians of the Game, The History of The New South Wales Rugby Union 1874-2004, John G Mulford 2005:
NSW WARATAHS v SOUTH AFRICA
Sydney Cricket Ground
19 June 1937
Some great Springboks came to tour Australia in 1937, the first South African Rugby team to tour since 1921.
Captained by the giant Phil Nel, the side contained legendary halfback Danie Craven, the pioneer of the dive pass. They won every match on tour until they struck the NSW Waratahs. The deeds of NSW that day will live forever as one of the greatest feats ever seen on the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Conditions were appalling as the teams took the field, with heavy rain belting down. However the NSW coach, famous 1927/28 Waratahs captain Johnnie Wallace, instructed his boys to throw the ball around with no thought of wet weather tactics that day.
Twice in the first half the ball went magically from halfback to wing for an overlap which produced two tries to Jockey Kelaher. Keith Windon was everywhere in the loose and Russ Kelly was burying the big Springboks in the mud with his devastating tackling. Frank O’Brien the Australian 440-yard sprint champion was beautifully positioned by captain Cyril Towers for two tries in the second half.
The NSW Waratahs played with finesse both in the backs and up-front, despite the treacherous conditions. Their performance that day is remembered as one the most memorable in the long history of NSW Rugby.
The final score, 17-6 to the NSW Waratahs.
TahTV have just released archived footage of this match which shows just how wet and muddy the SCG was on this night. It’s well worth a look for any rugby history buffs out there.