TOKYO, 30 Oct - South Africa and England have squared up four times at Rugby World Cups and the Boks have won on three of those occasions.

RWC 1999, quarter-final, Stade de France, Paris

The Stade de France has been the scene of some incredible rugby feats but nothing has eclipsed Springbok fly-half Jannie de Beer's kicking masterclass in the 44-21 quarter-final win. 

England endured a second-half nightmare as de Beer, above, put over a world record five drop goals. Counting penalties and conversions, he landed 12 from 12 that day for a total of 34 points.

South African fans were never convinced about de Beer's running game but there was no doubting his ability to kick a ball and he single-handedly ruined Clive Woodward's first World Cup campaign as head coach, although the hurt of that match in Paris would provide the motivation to win the trophy four years later. 

In the Springboks line-up was 26-year-old flanker Rassie Erasmus, who doubtless learned to appreciate the kicking game even more when Australia defeated South Africa after extra-time in the semi-final a week later, with the decisive six points coming via the boot.

RWC 2003, pool match, Subiaco Oval, Perth

Revenge for Woodward and England came in Perth in the pool stage of the 2003 World Cup when another Springbok fly-half, Louis Koen, suffered a kicking horror show.

England were mightily relieved to see Koen miss four attempts at goal, then have a kick charged down by flanker Lewis Moody. England centre Will Greenwood, above, pounced on the loose ball, showing the footballing skills he so admires in his beloved Manchester City to guide the ball over the line for the game's only try.

It was a moment when England could finally relax, knowing they had gained revenge for 1999 and put their bid for World Cup glory firmly on track. Wilkinson finished with 20 points in what was a warning to every other nation trying to lift the Cup that he was a match-winning force of nature. 

RWC 2007, pool match and final, Stade de France, Paris

After his drop goal won the Cup in 2003, Wilkinson was again cast in the role of England saviour as the team attempted to make history in France by becoming the first team to retain the trophy. However, Wilkinson was injured leading into the pool game against South Africa at the same Stade de France pitch where de Beer had dazzled.

This time the defeat would be even more debilitating.

The 36-0 hammering was England's first loss to the Springboks since that dark October day in 1999. Since the de Beer match, England had won seven of their eight games against the Springboks, yet here they were, defending champions, trooping off the pitch beaten and bemused.

Percy Montgomery was the kicking ace for the South Africans, collecting 18 points, as winger JP Pietersen scored two tries and flanker Juan Smith, above, charged in for another. When the teams met again in the final, after a remarkable change of fortunes for coach Brian Ashton's team, it seemed inevitable the Springboks would still be too strong. 

It did not quite go to plan and while South Africa were able to lift the trophy, the match would be dominated by a Television Match Official decision. To this day, England fans are convinced Mark Cueto got the ball down over the tryline before he was forced into touch. 

After some deliberation, the try was ruled out by Australia's Stuart Dickinson. Wilkinson did kick a penalty but England had too much ground to make up and it was John Smit, the hooker and captain, who collected the trophy for South Africa after their 15-6 win.

RNS cj/js/mr/sw