South Africa, Australia and New Zealand participated in numerous sporting contests prior to World War Two. These encounters were primarily on cricket pitches and rugby fields. After nearly four decades of negotiations the first Association football matches were played between the three countries in 1947. The first tour of South Africa to Australia and New Zealand was plagued by scandals on and off the pitch, but despite this Australia returned the favour and toured South Africa three years later. Another five years would pass before South African returned to Australia, by which time it was clear that a large gulf had emerged between the two nations in terms of sporting ability and organisational efficiency. This article focuses on the three tours of 1947, 1950 and 1955, dissecting each as they occurred against a backdrop of scandal, organisational inefficiency and sporting mismatch.