South Africa’s Springboks

The South African rugby team is nicknamed the Springboks, or Boks, and are one of the sport’s international powerhouses.  The South Africans have a winning record against every nation in world rugby except New Zealand, their greatest rivals.  The men in green and gold have won the Webb Ellis Cup on two previous occasions; famously in 1995 on home turf and again in 2007 in France.  Heyneke Meyer’s charges are in Pool B this time around and are seen as the firm favourites to advance ahead of Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the United States of America.

South Africa has beaten the Scots at the World Cup before (1999) while also enjoying wins against the Samoans (1995, 2003, 2007 and 2011) and the Americans (2007) but will be playing against the Japanese for the first time.  They won’t have to wait too long as the Test against the Brave Blossoms comes first on the second day of the Rugby World Cup in Brighton.

This World Cup will be a first for 16 players in the SA Squad.  Meanwhile, six of the players who represented South Africa in the 2011 World Cup have been included.  Since 1994, rugby has changed in South Africa and it has become an interracial sport after years of sporting isolation saw the Springboks excluded from international participation.  The political apartheid system at the time meant South Africa missed out on playing at the first two World Cup tournaments.  A growing number of people of colour have shown an interest in playing the sport and are competing at the highest level but the transformation debate continues to have a voice in the country and many feel that a lot more still needs to be done.

Nevertheless, the Boks appear to enjoy the support of the majority of South Africans and nothing would unite the nation quite like a third World Cup triumph.

The Springbok squad is (in alphabetical order):

Name

Franchise / Province / Club

Position

Caps

Willem Alberts

Sharks / Sharks

Loose forward

33

Schalk Brits

Saracens, England

Hooker

8

Schalk Burger

Stormers / Suntory, Japan

Loose forward

79

Damian De Allende

Stormers / Western Province

Centre / Wing

7

Lood De Jager

Cheetahs / Free State Cheetahs

Lock

12

Jean De Villiers (captain)

Stormers / Western Province

Centre

107

Bismarck Du Plessis

Sharks / Sharks

Hooker

73

Jannie Du Plessis

Sharks / Sharks

Prop

64

Fourie Du Preez

Suntory, Japan

Scrumhalf

70

Pieter-Steph Du Toit

Sharks / Sharks

Utility Forward

4

Eben Etzebeth

Stormers / Western Province

Lock

37

Bryan Habana

Toulon, France

Wing

110

Zane Kirchner

Leinster, Ireland

Fullback / Wing

30

Siya Kolisi

Stormers / Western Province

Loose forward

11

Jesse Kriel

Bulls / Blue Bulls

Utility Back

4

Patrick Lambie

Sharks / Sharks

Flyhalf / Fullback

44

Willie Le Roux

Cheetahs / Free State Cheetahs

Fullback / Wing

28

Francois Louw

Bath, England

Loose forward

36

Frans Malherbe

Stormers / Western Province

Prop

6

Victor Matfield (vice-capt)

Bulls / Blue Bulls

Lock

123

Tendai Mtawarira

harks / Sharks

Prop

68

Lwazi Mvovo

Sharks / Sharks

Wing / Fullback

13

Trevor Nyakane

Bulls / Blue Bulls

Prop

16

Coenie Oosthuizen

Cheetahs / Free State Cheetahs

Utility prop

21

Rudy Paige

Bulls / Blue Bulls

Scrumhalf

0

Ruan Pienaar

Ulster, N Ireland

Scrumhalf

84

JP Pietersen

Sharks / Panasonic, Japan

Centre / Wing

60

Handré Pollard

Bulls / Blue Bulls

Flyhalf

13

Morné Steyn

Stade Francais, France

Flyhalf

59

Adriaan Strauss

Bulls / Blue Bulls

Hooker

48

Duane Vermeulen

Stormers / Western Province

Eighthman

29