The worldclass Springboks XV who fell between RWC wins
Some truly worldclass Springbok rugby careers fell in the 12 years between the Rugby World Cup victories in France in 2007 and in Japan, 2019.
While some of this list’s time will come and others are more unlucky than some, it’s a formidable XV.
1 COENIE OOSTHUIZEN
The 127kg prop never quite managed to fully convince Bok selectors during his time in the green and gold. Arguably the world’s most destructive ball-carrying prop now plies trade for Sale Sharks.
2 ADRIAAN STRAUSS
Strauss played in 66 international test matches between 2008 and 2016 and captained the side in his final year. One of the first names on the team sheet for the latter part of his career.
3 WILCO LOUW
Was released from the 2019 training camps just weeks out from the Rugby World Cup. He’s just 25-years-old so likely to add to his 13 caps.
4 ANDRIES BEKKER
The 6’10 giant’s first cap came in 2008, and he went on to make 29 appearances in the green and gold. While a lot of his early career coincided with the tail end of legends Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, he was laterally overtaken in the pecking order by the Eben Etzebeth generation of locks. He currently plays for Kobelco Steelers in Japan.
5 FLIP VAN DER MERWE
The 126kg had an on and off relationship with the Bok since his first of 36 caps back in 2010. Despite his talents van der Merwe opted for France in 2015.
6 WARREN WHITELEY
The athletic backrow has been plagued by injury and with news breaking that he may not feature in Super Rugby in 2020, it could be all over for the former Springbok skipper.
7 WILLEM ALBERTS
The Bone Crusher’s Bok career started in 2010 and he was for a long time a mainstay of the South African backrow. Known for his physicality, the now 35-year-old left for France abd Stade Francais in 2015.
8 PIERRE SPIES
Spies was selected was in Jake White’s Springbok squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup but was forced to withdraw from the squad nine days later after blood clots were found in his lungs. Possibly the most jacked rugby player of all time.
9 FRANCOIS HOUGAARD
That rarest of things – a wing-cum-scrumhalf – Hougaard has become a mainstay at Worcester Warriors in the Premiership as one of their tent-pole stars. Powerful and abrasive at 9, Hougaard may yet add to his 46 Test caps.
10 MORNE STEYN
Although Steyn was never a player to set the world alight with ball-in-hand, he’s Mr Consistent from the kicking tee. He earned 66 caps in a career in the Bok jersey that spanned seven years between 2009 and 2016. Now 35-years-old, he makes serious bank for Stade Francais.
11 APHIWE DYANTI
The World Break Through Player of the Year in 2018, Dyanti could have been a star for the Springboks in Japan, until he tested hot this summer for PEDs. Touted as the natural successor to Bryan Habana, we’ll never know quite know how good a career he could have had, or indeed, how much his career to date was chemically enhanced. One thing is certain, he won’t be adding to his Test tally anytime soon.
12 JAN SERFONTEIN
A strong, bruising carrier at 12, Serfontein won an impressive 35 caps for his country before opting for big spending, Saffa-friendly Montpellier.
13 LIONEL MAPOE
The Port Elizabeth born Mapoe made the most of his talents with 14-caps between 2015 and 2018. The Lions player has hoped between clubs since and is no longer part of the Springbok reckoning.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 21, 2019
14 RUAN COMBRINCK
A short but successful Bok career, Combrinck won 7 caps in 2016, including impressive performances in SA’s three-match series with Ireland. Chose to pursue lucrative deals in Japan and France respectively.
15 GIO APLON
The size obsessed world of the Springboks, Aplon was always up against it to prove himself. It didn’t stop him from scoring 5 tries in 17 appearances for South Africa between 2010 and 2012.
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