The South Africa A side has historically been a development team. However, established stars of South African rugby do still play for the side when they’re returning from injury and looking for match practice.
Until 2018, South Africa A were under the South Africa Under-20 team in South Africa’s rugby hierarchy. However, a change to World Rugby’s regulations prohibited unions from designating an under-20 team as its second 15-a-side team.
That said, the team does have some experience playing against full national teams, noticeably doing so in the 2007 and 2008 Nations Cup. During these tournaments, they faced Namibia, Romania and Georgia, as well as Argentina, the Jaguares and Italy A.
There are no set criteria for deciding who represents South Africa A. However, the team is usually used to give potential Springboks a taste of international rugby. As a result, it’s a great opportunity for up-and-coming players to represent their country and push for full international selection.