Our Rugby World Cup Favourite XV’s – South Africa.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 will soon be with us! Only a couple of weeks and from now to then we are going to pick our “favourite fifteens” of players past and present for a different country going to Japan.
Last month we did current World Champions New Zealand. This month we are going to look at double World Cup Winners South Africa. They took the Trophy in 1995 at home and in 2007 in France.
These are purely opinion and we hope they will strike up a bit of a debate. There is nothing better in the lead up to a RWC than discussing past greats, so here is our SA favourite fifteen, we look forward to hearing if you agree or not? NB – We will still be correct!
1. Os du Randt.
Known as “The Ox” due to his sheer size and strength he is the only Springbok to have won two World Cups. He retired from rugby in 2000 only to return in 2003 and go on to win the RWC in 2007 retiring after the Final!
2. John Smit.
Springbok Captain of the 2007 World Cup winning team and at one point the most capped South African player. Smit is South Africa’s most successful Captain and has won more tests than any other Springbok’s Captain.
3. CJ van der Linde.
CJ never really settled at club level moving around a lot after he left his first club the Cheetahs. He had stints at Leinster, London Irish (one game!) and Montpellier among others. At international level he was an intimidating prop. He won 75 caps in all and was also an RWC winner in 2007.
4. Bakkies Botha.
One of the toughest locks ever to play rugby, Botha earned his nickname “The Enforcer”. He formed the perfect second row partnership with Victor Matfield and together they terrorised opposition lineouts for years. Also won the 2007 RWC and three European Champions Cups with Toulon.
5. Victor Matfield.
The other half of probably the greatest test second row ever. Matfield was a lineout expert and this skill was crucial to the Springboks RWC Final win in 2007. Matfield ended his long and successful career in England playing for Northampton Saints.
6. Francois Pienaar.
One of the most famous Springbok players ever, the 1995 RWC winning Captain went down in history when he was presented the World Cup by Nelson Mandela. Besides the fame he was a tenacious, skilled rugby player and a born leader.
7. Schalk Burger.
Burger is still playing a large part for Saracens in the English Premiership at the age of 35, showing the skill and toughness that made him a vital part of the 2007 RWC winning team. He managed to rack up 86 caps despite long periods side-lined with injury.
8. Gary Teichman.
An “old school” selection but a good one. Teichmann is thought of as one of the best No.8’s and Captains that the Springboks have had. He never won a World Cup but he did guide his team to a then record of 17 test matches without defeat.
9. Joost van der Westhuizen.
Potentially the best scrum half of all time Joost just edges it over Du Preez. He was lightening in attack but defended like a fourth back row forward. He passed away in 20** to ****** and the rugby world is worse off without him.
10. Henri Honiball.
Always a problem position for the Springboks. Despite have many great 10’s over the years none have really reached the heights of other rugby Superstars. Honiball was one of the most talented for us due to his physicality and ability to break the line.
11. Bryan Habana.
Fast, fast, fast. Habana was one of the quickest men to burn up a rugby pitch and he even raced a cheetah for fun. On the pitch his record speaks for itself. One World Cup, 2 European cups and numerous league titles in South Africa and France.
12. Francois Steyn.
Just edges the inside centre position for his pure all-round talent and huge kicking. He has played every position in the back line except for scrum half. We picked him at 12 as this is where he won the 2007 RWC, the youngest player to ever win it.
13. Jaques Fourie.
Such a great centre. Power, pace and a rugby mind make Fourie one of the best to pull on a Springbok Jersey. Had a great pass and probably started the idea of an extra playmaker in the centres. RWC winner in 2007.
14. Chester Williams
Williams was the star winger of the 1995 World Cup winning side and scored 4 tries in the quarter final against Western Samoa. In a difficult period for black players in South Africa, Chester shone and played some great rugby to quieten his critics.
15. Percy Montgomery.
Another Springbok who could play anywhere in the backline. It was when he was picked at 15 by Jake White that he really made his mark winning the RWC in 2007 and becoming at one point the highest ever scoring Springbok and the most capped.
Finishers: Eben Etzebeth, Fourie Du Preez, Danie Gerber, Tendai Mtawarira, Pierre Spies, Andre Venter.