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Springboks dominate URC team of season, but only two 2023 RWC winners

By Josh Raisey
Ox Nche of Hollywoodbets Sharks looks on during the Hollywoodbets Sharks Captain's Run and press conference ahead of the EPCR Challenge Cup Final against Gloucester Rugby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 23, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Seven South Africa internationals have made the United Rugby Championship team of the season, but only two players from the triumphant World Cup-winning squad at the beginning of the season.

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Sharks loosehead prop Ox Nche and Bulls winger Kurt-Lee Arendse are the two world champions from last year, who both featured in the final against the All Blacks in October. That is perhaps understandable as many of Jacques Nienaber’s and Rassie Erasmus’ squad would have had their game time limited this season.

They are joined in the team of the season by five other Springboks – Stormers fullback Warrick Gelant, Bulls hooker Akker van der Merwe, Bulls tighthead Wilco Louw, Bulls lock Ruan Nortje and Bulls flanker Elrigh Louw – who did not make the cut for the tournament in France.

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Damian de Allende talks about the plaudits heaped on him by his teammates

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Damian de Allende talks about the plaudits heaped on him by his teammates

The only uncapped South African in the team is Bulls’ No8 Cameron Hanekom.

URC semi-finalists the Bulls are well represented in the team with six players, more than any other team, after a season where they finished second in the table.

Fixture
United Rugby Championship
Bulls
25 - 20
Full-time
Leinster
All Stats and Data

The Bulls’ semi-final opponents Leinster only have one representative, winger Jordan Larmour. He is one of four Ireland internationals in the team alongside Munster fly-half Jack Crowley, Ulster scrum-half John Cooney and Munster lock Tadhg Beirne. The only other member of an Irish province to make the team is Munster centre Alex Nankivell.

Crowley was also named the Next-Gen player of the season after a season where he also made the Ireland No10 jersey his own.

The final two places are taken by Scotland internationals – Glasgow Warriors centre Sione Tuipulotu and Edinburgh flanker Jamie Ritchie, who was crowned turnover king earlier this week.

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URC Elite XV
15. Warrick Gelant (DHL Stormers)
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster Rugby)
13. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors)
12. Alex Nankivell (Munster Rugby)
11. Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls)
10. Jack Crowley (Munster Rugby)
9. John Cooney (Ulster Rugby)
1. Ox Nche (Hollywoodbets Sharks)
2. Akker van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls)
3. Wilco Louw (Vodacom Bulls)
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby)
5. Ruan Nortjé (Vodacom Bulls)
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh)
7. Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls)
8. Cameron Hanekom (Vodacom Bulls)

Fixture
United Rugby Championship
Munster
10 - 17
Full-time
Glasgow
All Stats and Data
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