South Africa are one of the most decorated rugby teams in the world, steeped with history as well as producing some true greats to grace the game. The Springboks famously won the 1995 World Cup against all odds with Francois Pienaar’s side beating New Zealand 15-12 in the final. They then also succeeded in the 2007 World Cup beating England 15-6 in the final to deny the English of their title defence. However, since 2007 South Africa have slightly lessened their performances after losing to Australia in the quarter final of the 2011 World Cup. And ever since, they’ve struggle to regain any sort of dominance in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Springboks have struggled to pen down any consistent results of late too, winning against Italy and England but losing to Wales and the Autumn Internationals. Heyneke Meyer then guided his team to a very impressive win over the World XI in July, but then fell short against the All Blacks and Australia once again. And then in their World Cup warm-ups with Argentina recently the Springboks were beaten in a very entertaining game at Growthpoint Kings Park, however they managed to get some payback the week after beating the Argentine’s in Buenos Aires.
South Africa are in a relatively easy Pool C with Japan, Samoa, U.S.A and Scotland – they should definitely progress through to the quarter-finals.With an extremely hard and ruthless pack, the Springboks will look to dominate in and around the rucks against the weaker sides like Japan and U.S.A. However, their backs are equally exciting with young fly-half Handre Pollard competing with Morne Steyn and Patrick Lambie for a starting-spot – what a battle that will be. The Springbok’s all-time top try-scorer Bryan Habana will cause any team troubles out wide, and JP Pieterson and Lwazi Mvovo will compete for a place on the left-wing.
Here’s South Africa’s full squad for the Rugby World Cup: Willem Alberts (Sharks), Schalk Brits (Saracens), Schalk Burger (Stormers), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Lions), Bismarckdu Plessis (Sharks), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers),Elton Jantjies (Lions), Bryan Habana (Toulon), Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), Zane Kirchner (Leinster), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Stormers), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Victor Matfield (Bulls), Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje (Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Lions), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Rudy Paige (Bulls), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Handré Pollard (Bulls), Morné Steyn (Stade Francais), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), Warren Whiteley (Lions).
So how will South Africa fare in the 2015 World Cup? Will inconsistency kill them, or can they overcome the likes of New Zealand and Australia and win it just like in 1995? Only time will tell, but it’s sure to be tremendously exciting!
Here’s the Spingbok’s fixtures:
Japan, Sept 19, 4.45pm, Brighton Community Stadium
Samoa, Sept 26, 4.45pm, Villa Park, Birmingham
Scotland, Oct 3, 4.45pm, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
United States, Oct 7, 4.45pm, Olympic Stadium, London