|Nickname(s)||Springboks, Bokke, Amabokoboko|
|Head coach||Rassie Erasmus|
|Most caps||Victor Matfield (127)|
|Top scorer||Percy Montgomery (893)|
|Top try scorer||Bryan Habana (67)|
|World Rugby ranking|
|Current||1 (as of 2 November 2019)|
|Highest||1 (2007, 2008, 2009, 2019)|
|Lowest||7 (2017, 2018)|
|South Africa 0–4 British Isles |
(Cape Town, South Africa; 30 July 1891)
|South Africa 134–3 Uruguay |
(East London, South Africa; 11 June 2005)
| New Zealand 57–0 South Africa|
(Auckland, New Zealand; 16 September 2017)
|Appearances||7 (First in 1995 )|
|Best result||Champions, 1995, 2007, 2019|
The South African national rugby union team, commonly known as the Springboks (colloquially the Boks or Bokke, and Amabokoboko)is the country's national team governed by the South African Rugby Union. The Springboks play in green and gold jerseys with white shorts, and their emblem is the native antelope springbok. The team has been representing South Africa in international rugby union since 30 July 1891, when they played their first test match against a British Isles touring team.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) is the governing body for rugby union in South Africa and is affiliated to World Rugby. It was established in 1992 as the South African Rugby Football Union, from the merger of the South African Rugby Board and the non-racial South African Rugby Union (SACOS), and took up its current name in 2005.
An emblem is an abstract or representational pictorial image that represents a concept, like a moral truth, or an allegory, or a person, like a king or saint.
The springbok is a medium-sized antelope found mainly in southern and southwestern Africa. The sole member of the genus Antidorcas, this bovid was first described by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1780. Three subspecies are identified. A slender, long-legged antelope, the springbok reaches 71 to 86 cm at the shoulder and weighs between 27 and 42 kg. Both sexes have a pair of black, 35-to-50 cm (14-to-20 in) long horns that curve backwards. The springbok is characterised by a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks like the Thomson's gazelle, and a white rump flap.
Although South Africa was instrumental in the creation of the Rugby World Cup competition, the Springboks did not compete in the first two World Cups in 1987 and 1991 because of international anti-apartheid sporting boycotts. The team made its World Cup debut in 1995, when the newly democratic South Africa hosted the tournament. The Springboks defeated the All Blacks 15–12 in the final, which is now remembered as one of the greatest moments in South Africa's sporting history, and a watershed moment in the post-Apartheid nation-building process. South Africa regained the title as champions 12 years later, when they defeated England 15–6 in the 2007 final. As a result of the 2007 World Cup tournament the Springboks were promoted to first place in the IRB World Rankings, a position they held until July the following year when New Zealand regained the top spot. They were named 2008 World Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards.South Africa then won a third World Cup title in 2019, defeating England 32–12 in the final. Making the Springboks the most successful rugby team in rugby world cups. Winning 3 out of 7 world cups. The next best the All Blacks with 3 wins out of 9 world cups.
The Rugby World Cup is a men's rugby union tournament contested every four years between the top international teams. The tournament was first held in 1987, when the tournament was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
The 1987 Rugby World Cup was the first Rugby World Cup. New Zealand and Australia agreed to co-host the tournament. New Zealand hosted 20 matches – 17 pool stage matches, two quarter-finals and the final – while Australia hosted 12 matches – seven pool matches, two quarter-finals and both semi-finals. The event was won by co-hosts New Zealand, who were the strong favourites and won all their matches comfortably. France were losing finalists, and Wales surprise third-place winners: Australia, having been second favourites, finished fourth after conceding crucial tries in the dying seconds of both the semi-final against France and the third-place play-off against Wales.
The 1991 Rugby World Cup was the second edition of the Rugby World Cup, and was jointly hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France: at the time, the five European countries who participated in the Five Nations Championship. This was the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in the northern hemisphere, with England the hosts of the championship game. Once again, South Africa was not represented due to international sanctions imposed upon the "Springboks" by the IRB, due to the Apartheid Government policies. Following on from the success of the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, the 1991 World Cup received increased attention and was seen as a major global sporting event for the first time. Also for the first time, qualifying competitions were introduced as the number of entrants had increased from 16 nations four years before to a total of 33 countries. The eight quarter-finalists from 1987 qualified automatically with the remaining eight spots contested through qualifiers by 25 countries. This however resulted in only one new side qualifying for the tournament, Western Samoa replacing Tonga. The same 16-team pool/knock-out format was used with just minor changes to the points system.
The Springboks also compete in the annual Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri-Nations), along with southern-hemisphere counterparts Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. They have won this championship on four occasions in twenty-four competitions.
The Rugby Championship is an international rugby union competition contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Prior to the 2012 tournament, when Argentina joined, it was known as the Tri Nations. The competition is administered by SANZAAR, a consortium consisting of four national governing bodies: the South African Rugby Union, New Zealand Rugby Union, Rugby Australia and the Argentine Rugby Union The inaugural Tri Nations tournament was in 1996, and was won by New Zealand – known as the All Blacks. South Africa won their first title in 1998, and Australia their first in 2000. Following the last Tri Nations tournament in 2011, New Zealand had won ten championships, with South Africa and Australia on three titles each. The first Rugby Championship was won by New Zealand, who won all six of their matches.
The Southern Hemisphere is the half of Earth that is south of the Equator. It contains all or parts of five continents, four oceans and most of the Pacific Islands in Oceania. Its surface is 80.9% water, compared with 60.7% water in the case of the Northern Hemisphere, and it contains 32.7% of Earth's land.
The Argentina national rugby team is organised by the Argentine Rugby Union. Nicknamed the Pumas, they play in sky blue and white jerseys,
The first British Isles tour took place in 1891, at Diocesan College.These were the first representative games played by South African sides. The tourists won all twenty matches they played, conceding only one point. The British Isles' success continued on their tour of 1896, winning three out of four tests against South Africa. South Africa's play greatly improved from 1891, and their first test win in the final game was a pointer to the future. In 1903 the British Isles lost a series for the first time in South Africa, drawing the opening two tests before losing the last 8–0. Rugby was given a huge boost by the early Lions tours, which created great interest in the South African press. South Africa would not lose another series—home or away—until 1956.
The 1891 British Isles tour to South Africa was the first British Isles rugby union tour of South Africa and only the second overseas tour conducted by a joint British team. Between 9 July and 7 September, the team played 20 games, including three Tests against the South Africa national rugby union team. The British Isles not only won all three Test matches, but also won all 17 provincial games. Although not named as such at the time, the tour is retrospectively recognised as a British Lions tour.
1896 British Isles tour to South Africa was a rugby union tour undertaken by the British Isles, one of the first British and Irish Lions tours. The team toured South Africa for the second time in 1896. Between 11 July and 5 September, they played 21 games, including four tests against South Africa. The British Isles XV won the Test series 3–1 and completed the 17-game provincial program unbeaten, scoring 204 points and conceding just 45 in all matches.
The 1903 British Isles tour to South Africa was the fifth tour by a British Isles team and the third to South Africa. It is retrospectively classed as one of the British Lions tours, as the Lions naming convention was not adopted until 1950.
The first South African team to tour the British Isles and France occurred during 1906–07. The team played tests against all four Home Nations. England managed a draw, but Scotland was the only one of the Home unions to gain a victory.The trip instilled a sense of national pride among South Africans. The South Africans played an unofficial match against a 'France' team while the official French team were in England; the Springboks won 55–6. It was during this tour that the nickname Springboks was first used.
The terms Home Nations and Home Countries refer collectively to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and in certain sports include the whole island of Ireland. The term "Home Nations" is used in this second sense partly because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have a unified association structure in certain sports, such as the Irish Rugby Football Union and Cricket Ireland. Formerly, the term was applied in general in this same wider sense, such as the period between 1801 and 1922, when the whole island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. The synonymous "Home Countries" is also sometimes used.
The 1910 British Isles tour of South Africa was the first to include representatives from all four Home unions. The tourists won just one of their three tests.The Boks' second European tour took place in 1912–13. They beat the four Home nations to earn their first Grand Slam, and also defeated France.
The 1910 British Isles tour to South Africa was the eighth tour by a British Isles rugby union team and the fourth to South Africa. It is retrospectively classed as one of the British Lions tours, as the Lions naming convention was not adopted until 1950. As well as South Africa, the tour included a game in Bulawayo in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
In rugby union, a Grand Slam occurs when one team in the Six Nations Championship manages to beat all the others during one year's competition. This has been achieved 39 times in total, for the first time by Wales in 1908, and most recently by Wales in 2019. The team to have won the most Grand Slams is England with 13.
By the first World War, New Zealand and South Africa had established themselves as rugby's two greatest powers.A Springbok tour to New Zealand and Australia in 1921 was billed as "The World Championship of Rugby". The All Blacks won the first Test 13–5, The Springboks recovered to win the second Test 9–5, and the final Test was drawn 0–0, resulting in a series draw.
The 1924 British and Irish Lions team to South Africa lost all four Tests to the Springboks.This was the first side to pick up the name Lions, apparently picked up from the Lions embroidered on their ties. The All Blacks first toured South Africa in 1928, and again the Test series finished level. The Springboks won the first Test 17–0 to inflict the All Blacks' heaviest defeat since 1893. The All Blacks rebounded to win the second Test 7–6. After a Springbok win in the third Test, the All Blacks won 13–5 to draw the series.
Despite winning South Africa's second Grand Slam, the Springbok tourists of 1931–32 were an unloved team, due to their tactics of kicking for territory.It was successful however, winning against England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as defeating all their Welsh opponents for the first time.
In 1933, Australia toured South Africa, with the Springboks winning the series 3–2.
In 1937 South Africa toured New Zealand and Australia and their 2–1 series win prompted them to be called "the best team to ever leave New Zealand".
The British Isles toured South Africa again in 1938, winning the majority of their tour matches. The Springboks secured easy victories in the first two tests. However, the Lions bounced back to record a win in the third test, for the first Lions win on South Africa soil since 1910.
Danie Craven was appointed coach in 1949, and started his coaching career winning ten matches in a row, including a 4–0 whitewash of New Zealand on their 1949 tour to South Africa.
The 1951–52 team that toured Europe was considered amongst the finest Springbok sides to tour.The team won the Grand Slam as well as defeating France. Hennie Muller captained the side. The South African highlight of the tour was a 44–0 defeat of Scotland. The team finished with only one loss, to London Counties, from 31 matches.
In 1953, Australia toured South Africa for the second time and although they lost the series they defeated South Africa 18–14 in the second test. This was the first Springbok defeat for 15 years.[ citation needed ] The 1955 British Lions tour to South Africa four-test series ended in a draw.
In 1956, Springboks toured Australasia the All Blacks won its first series over the Springboks, in "the most bitterly fought series in history."
When France toured South Africa in 1958 they were not expected to compete.France exceeded expectations and drew 3–3. The French then secured a Test series victory with a 9–5 victory.
In 1960, international criticism of apartheid grew in the wake of The Wind of Change speech and the Sharpeville massacre.The Springboks increasingly became the target of international protest. The All Blacks toured South Africa in 1960, despite a 150,000 signature petition opposing it. The Springboks avenged their 1956 series defeat by winning the four-match test series 2–1 with one draw. Later that same year the Springboks toured Europe, and they defeated all four Home unions for their fourth Grand Slam.
The 1962 British Lions tour to South Africa lost all three tests. In 1963 the touring Wallabies beat the Springboks in consecutive tests, the first team to do so since the 1896 British team.[ citation needed ] In 1964, in Wales' first overseas tour they played one test match against South Africa, losing 3–24, their biggest defeat in 40 years.
South Africa had a poor year in 1965, losing matches in a tour of Ireland and Scotland, and in a tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The planned 1967 tour by the All Blacks was cancelled by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union after the South African government refused to allow Maori players.In 1968 the Lions toured and lost three Tests and drew one.
Next year in the 1969–70 Springbok tour to the UK and Ireland the Springboks lost test matches against England and Scotland, and drew against Ireland and Wales. Throughout the tour however, large anti-apartheid demonstrations meant that several matches had to be played behind barbed wire fences.
In 1970 the All Blacks toured South Africa once again—after the South African government agreed to treat Maoris in the team and Maori spectators as 'honorary whites'.The Springboks won the test series 3–1.
In the Springbok tour of Australia in 1971, the Springboks won all three tests. As in Britain three years before, however, massive anti-apartheid demonstrations greeted the team, and they had to be transported by the Royal Australian Air Force after the trade unions refused to service planes or trains transporting them. A planned tour of New Zealand for 1973 was blocked by New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk on the grounds of public safety.
The Lions team that toured South Africa in 1974 triumphed 3–0 (with one drawn) in the test series. A key feature was the Lions' infamous '99 call'. Lions management had decided that the Springboks dominated their opponents with physical aggression, so decided "to get their retaliation in first". At the call of '99' each Lions player would attack their nearest rival player. The "battle of Boet Erasmus Stadium" was one of the most violent matches in rugby history.
The 1976 All Blacks tour of South Africa went ahead, and the Springboks won by three Tests to one, but coming shortly after the Soweto riots the tour attracted international condemnation. Twenty-eight countries boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics in protest, and in 1977 the Gleneagles Agreement discouraged any Commonwealth sporting contact with South Africa. In response to the growing pressure, the segregated South African rugby unions merged in 1977. A planned 1979 Springbok tour of France was blocked by the French government.
The Lions toured South Africa in 1980, losing the first three tests before winning the last one.
The 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand went ahead in defiance of the Gleneagles Agreement. South Africa lost the series 1–2. The tour and the massive civil disruption in New Zealand had ramifications far beyond rugby. In 1981, Errol Tobias became the first non-white South African to represent his country when he took the field against Ireland.[ citation needed ] South Africa sought to counteract its sporting isolation by inviting the South American Jaguars to tour. The team contained mainly Argentinian players. Eight matches were played between the two teams in the early 1980s—all awarded Test status. In 1984, England toured losing both test matches; of the players selected, only Ralph Knibbs of Bristol refused to tour for political reasons.
Due to the isolation from apartheid, from 1985 to 1991, South Africa did not play a single test match against an established country, although South Africa did play some matches against makeshift teams.In 1985, a planned All Black tour of South Africa was stopped by the New Zealand High Court. A rebel tour took place the next year by a team known as the Cavaliers, which consisted of all but two of the original squad. The Springboks won the series 3–1. In 1989, a World XV sanctioned by the International Rugby Board went on a mini-tour of South Africa; all traditional rugby nations bar New Zealand supplied players to the team. South Africa was not permitted by the International Rugby Board to compete in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, nor in the following 1991 Rugby World Cup.
Apartheid was abolished during 1990–91, and the Springboks were readmitted to international rugby in 1992. They struggled to return to their pre-isolation standards in their first games after readmission. During the 1992 All Blacks tour, the first to South Africa since 1976, the Springboks were defeated 24–27 by New Zealand, and suffered a 3–26 loss to Australia the following month.
South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup, with a surge of support for the Springboks among the white and black communities behind the slogan "one team, one country."This was the first major international sports event to be held in the Rainbow Nation. By the time they hosted the 1995 World Cup, the Springboks, coached by Kitch Christie, were seeded ninth. They won their pool by defeating Australia, Romania, and Canada. Wins in the quarter-final against Western Samoa (42–14) and in the semi-final against France (19–15) sent the Springboks to the final. South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final against the All Blacks 15–12 in extra-time. President Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok shirt, presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner. The gesture was widely seen as a major step towards the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.
A series of crises followed in 1995 through 1997. Christie resigned in 1996 due to leukaemia. South Africa struggled in the new Tri-Nations competition, the All Blacks won a test series in South Africa for the first time in 1996, [ citation needed ] The team suffered successive defeats in the Lions 1997 tour and the 1997 Tri Nations Series.and the Lions won their 1997 South African tour test series two games to one. Coach Andre Markgraaff was fired in 1997 over a racist comment he made.
In 1997, coach Nick Mallett coached South Africa's unbeaten 1997 tour of Europe, and in 1998 the Boks tied the then-existing record for longest test winning streak, winning 17 consecutive tests, including the 1998 Tri-Nations.At the 1999 Rugby World Cup the Springboks reached the semi-finals of the competition, where they lost to eventual champions Australia.
During the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the Springboks lost by record margins to England (3–53), France, Scotland and New Zealand.At the 2003 Rugby World Cup, they were eliminated in the quarter-final round – their worst showing to date.
Following wins during the June 2004 tours, the Boks won the 2004 Tri Nations Series. The Springboks won the 2004 IRB International Team of the Year award. The Springboks finished second in the 2005 Tri-Nations.
The 2006 Springboks lost to France, ending their long undefeated home record. A poor 2006 Tri Nations Series included two losses to the Wallabies. Coach Jake White told the press in July 2006 that he had been unable to pick some white players for his squad "because of transformation"—a reference to the ANC government's policies to redress racial imbalances.[ citation needed ]
At the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, the Springboks won their pool. The Springboks then defeated Fiji 37–20 in the quarter-finals, and Argentina 37–13 in the semi-finals. In the final they prevailed 15–6 over England to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time.
In January 2008, Peter de Villiers was appointed as the first non-white coach of the Springboks. De Villiers's first squad included ten of colour. The team finishes last in the Tri Nations, but notched several wins during their 2008 end of year tour.
The 2009 season was more successful. The Boks earned a 2–1 series win over the Lions, and then won the 2009 Tri Nations Series. However, during the November tests they lost their top spot in the IRB rankings with losses to France and Ireland. Nonetheless, the Boks were named IRB International Team of the Year.
The Boks' June 2010 test campaign included a win over France (their first victory over the French since 2005).However, the Boks performed poorly in the 2010 Tri Nations campaign, sliding to third in the world rankings. In the 2011 Tri Nations the Boks rested a number of players in preparation for the upcoming World Cup. At the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks topped their group before falling to Australia 9–11 in the quarter-finals.
South Africa (Boks) won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan after defeating England 32–12. It was for the first time that a Black South African rugby captain got to lift the Web Ellis Cup, the captain being Siya Kolisi who presented South African president Cyril Ramaphosa the number 6 jersey to commemorate Nelson Mandela, who wore the same numbered jersey during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The final match between South Africa and England served as a rematch between the two in reference to the 2007 Rugby World Cup final. This marks the third time South Africa has won the World Cup which ties the team with the All Blacks for most Rugby World Cup wins.
Since the demise of apartheid the ruling African National Congress has wanted to replace the Springbok across all national teams, as emblem of the racially segregated sporting codes, with a neutral symbol that would represent a decisive break with a repressive past. The King Protea as South Africa's national flower was chosen for this purpose, so that the national cricket team became known as the Proteas, for example. A similar change was envisioned for the national rugby squad's springbok emblem. Paul Roos's team had first introduced the Springbok in 1906, and it had promoted a measure of unity among white English and Afrikaans-speaking players after the two Anglo-Boer Wars of the late 19th century.
The Springbok was regarded as representing both the exclusion of players who were not designated white under apartheid legislation and, by extension, of apartheid itself.Although the Springbok was adopted briefly by the first coloured national rugby team in 1939 and by their first black counterparts in 1950, it became exclusively associated with segregated sporting codes afterwards. South African rugby officials in particular, and the national rugby team itself, have an historical association with racism from 1906 on. The first rugby Springboks initially refused to play against a Devon side that included Jimmy Peters, the first black player to represent England. Legendary official, national coach, and Springbok scrumhalf Danie Craven had acquiesced with government officials who had demanded that Māori players be excluded from visiting All Black teams. Craven had also indicated that the Springbok was exclusively tied to the white identity of the national rugby team.
As a result of political pressure the national rugby team jersey from 1992 on featured a king protea alongside the springbok. As portrayed in the film Invictus, pressure to replace the Springbok as emblem for the rugby team came to a head in 1994, just before the Rugby World Cup that would take place in South Africa. As a result of Nelson Mandela's direct intervention (Mandela himself was a devoted fan of the Springbok rugby team), the ANC's executive decided not to do away with the emblem at the time, but to reappropriate it. After the national team won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, black rugby pioneer Dan Qeqe said that "The Springboks play for all of us".
In March 2004 the South African Sports Commission ratified a decision that the protea be the official rugby emblem on blazers and caps, with the concession that the springbok could remain on the team jersey and the traditional Springbok colours.And in November 2007 the ANC's special conference at Polokwane again endorsed the need for a single symbol for all sporting codes. While critics like Qondisa Ngwenya foresaw a loss of revenue from dumping the springbok emblem, others like Cheeky Watson urged the need for an alternative, unifying symbol. In 2015 for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the springbok was moved from the front of the jersey to the right sleeve while the Protea remained on the front. This was due to World Cup regulations stating that only the IRB logo and the main team logo could go on the front of the shirt. Several South African rugby fans voiced their disappointment and anger at the reveal of the 2015 shirt as a result of the springbok not being on the front of the shirt.
South Africa play in green jerseys with a gold collar and trim, white shorts and green socks. The jersey is embroidered with the SA Rugby logo on the wearer's left chest and the springbok logo on the right chest. Japanese company ASICS is the kit provider for all the South Africa rugby teams,through an agreement signed with the SARU until 2019. South Africa's shirt sponsor is local mobile phone provider MTN Group. Additional uniform sponsors are FNB on the back above the numbers, and Land Rover, FlySafair, and Southern Palace rotating on the rear hems of the shorts.
Historically, the green jersey was first adopted when the British Isles toured South Africa in 1903. After playing the first two Tests in white shirts, South Africa wore a green jersey (supplied by the Diocesan College rugby team) for the first time in their final Test at Newlands.
On their first tour to Great Britain and Ireland in 1906–07 South Africa wore a green jersey with white collar, blue shorts, and blue socks taken from the Diocesan College. A replica shirt was worn in 2006 against Ireland in Dublin to mark the centenary of the tour.When Australia first toured South Africa in 1933, the visitors wore sky blue jerseys to avoid confusion, as at the time, both wore dark green jerseys. In 1953, when Australia toured again, the Springboks wore white jerseys for the test matches. In 1961 Australia changed their jersey to gold to avoid further colour clashes. 2017 saw the Springboks wear a red change jersey at Argentina as part of an Asics promotion where the Springboks and Blitzboks wore jerseys in all the colours of the South African flag during the course of the season—the main side wore green, white, and red shirts, while the sevens team turned out in gold, blue and black uniforms.
The Springbok nickname and logo also dates from the 1906–07 tour of Britain. The springbok was chosen to represent the team by tour captain Paul Roos in an attempt to prevent the British press from inventing their own name. The logo was not restricted to the white team alone – the first coloured national team used the springbok in 1939 and the first black team in 1950.After the fall of apartheid in 1992 a wreath of proteas was added to the logo. When the ANC was elected in 1994 the team's name was not changed to the Proteas, like that of the South African cricket team, due in part to the intervention of then-President Nelson Mandela.
In December 2008, the SARU decided to place the protea on the left side of the Boks' jersey, in line with other South African national teams, and move the springbok to the right side of the jersey. new jersey was worn for the first time during the British and Irish Lions' 2009 tour of South Africa.The
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|1992–1996||Cotton Traders||Lion Lager|
|1996–1999||Nike||No shirt sponsor|
|2004 mid-year internationals||None|
|December 2004 – 2010||SASOL|
|2016 mid-year internationals||Blue Label Telecoms|
* In a 2001 autumn international against France in Saint-Denis, the logo on their kit was replaced by Charles because of the Evin law, which prohibits alcohol companies from advertising during sports events in France.
The Springboks do not use a national stadium as their home, but play out of a number of venues throughout South Africa. The 60,000 seat Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg was the main venue for the 1995 World Cup,where the Springboks defeated the All Blacks in the final. Other regular venues for tests include Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, Kings Park Stadium in Durban, Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The Springboks played their first test match at Soccer City on 21 August 2010, a Tri Nations match against New Zealand.
Other stadiums that have been used for test matches include Buffalo City Stadium in East London, the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace outside of Rustenburg, Mbombela Stadium in Mbombela and Puma Stadium in Witbank.
The first South African international took place at Port Elizabeth's St George's Park Cricket Ground in 1891.Ellis Park was built in 1928, and in 1955 hosted a record 100,000 people in a Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions.
The Springboks are said to have a notable advantage over touring sides when playing at high altitude on the Highveld.Games at Ellis Park, Loftus Versfeld, or Vodacom Park are said to present physical problems, and to influence a match in a number of other ways, such as the ball travelling further when kicked. Experts disagree on whether touring team's traditionally poor performances at altitude are more due to a state of mind rather than an actual physical challenge.
Men's World Rugby Rankings
|Top 30 rankings as of 11 November 2019|
|*Change from the previous week|
|South Africa's historical rankings|
|Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 30 December 2019|
List of South Africa national rugby union team records
South Africa's only yearly tournament is The Rugby Championship (formerly Tri-Nations), involving Australia and New Zealand since 1996, with Argentina joining the competition in 2012. South Africa has won the tournament four times; in 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2019. South Africa also participates in the Mandela Challenge Plate with Australia, and the Freedom Cup with New Zealand as part of the Rugby Championship.
|Tri Nations (1996–2011)|
|Source: lassen.co.nz – Tri-Nations, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa |
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.
|Rugby Championship (2012–present)|
|Updated: 10 August 2019|
Source: lassen.co.nz – TRC, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.
|All-time Tri Nations & Rugby Championship Table (1996–present)|
|Updated: 10 August 2019|
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.
|Rugby World Cup|
|Barred due to Apartheid|
South Africa did not participate in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups because of the sporting boycott that apartheid brought against them. South Africa's introduction to the event was as hosts. They defeated defending champions Australia 27–18 in the opening match, and went on to defeat the All Blacks 15–12 after extra time in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, with a drop goal from 40 metres by Joel Stransky.
In 1999 South Africa suffered their first World Cup loss when they were defeated 21–27 by Australia in their semi-final; they went on to defeat the All Blacks 22–18 in the third-fourth play-off match.The worst ever South African performance at a World Cup was in 2003 when they lost a pool game to England, and then were knocked out of the tournament by the All Blacks in their quarter-final. In 2007 the Springboks defeated Fiji in the quarter-finals and Argentina in the semi-finals. They then defeated England in the final 15–6 to win the tournament for a second time. In 2011 the Springboks were defeated by Australia 9–11 in the quarter-finals after winning all four of their pool games.
In the 2015 World Cup, South Africa suffered a 32–34 loss to Japan in their first pool match on 19 September. BBC reported the game as arguably the biggest upset in rugby union history.However, South Africa defeated Japan 26–3 in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Until the 1990s South Africa were considered the most successful rugby nation in Test match history, with a positive win-loss ratio against every Test playing nation including their traditional rivals, New Zealand. Since that time, the Springboks have lost their winning record against the New Zealand All Blacks. South Africa are currently ranked number 1 in the world rankings (as of 2 November 2019). When the ranking system was introduced in October 2003 South Africa were ranked sixth. Their ranking fluctuated until victory in the 2007 Rugby World Cup briefly sent them to the top of the rankings.
Below is test matches played by South Africa up until 2 November 2019. Only fixtures recognised as test matches by the South African Rugby Union are listed.
|New Zealand Cavaliers||4||3||1||0||75.00%||96||62||+34|
|South American Jaguars||8||7||1||0||87.50%||210||114||+96|
± The Cavaliers was the name given to an unofficial (rebel) New Zealand team that toured South Africa in 1986. The New Zealand Rugby Union did not sanction the team and do not recognise the side as a New Zealand representative team.
On 26 August 2019, South Africa named their 31 squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
On 23 September 2019, Trevor Nyakane withdrew through injury and was replaced by Thomas du Toit.
On 1 October, Damian Willemse replaced Jesse Kriel, after he was injured in the team's opening match against New Zealand.
Appearances correct as of 13 November 2019.
South Africa's most capped player is Victor Matfield with 127 caps.The most-capped back is Bryan Habana. Percy Montgomery holds the South African record for Test points with 893, which at the time of his international retirement placed him sixth on the all-time list of Test point scorers (he now stands ninth).
John Smit was the world's most-capped captain, having captained South Africa in 82 of his 111 Tests, but has since been overtaken.Smit also played a record 46 consecutive matches for South Africa.
The record try scorer is Bryan Habana with 67 tries.(as of 14 February 2018)
As of 8 October 2019, Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick in World Cup history.
Twelve former South African international players have been inducted into either the International Rugby Hall of Fame or the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
In addition to players, the World Rugby Hall of Fame has also inducted the following people:
The current coaching staff of the South African national team was revealed on 1 March 2018:
|Rassie Erasmus||Springbok Head Coach|
|Jacques Nienaber||Assistant Coach (Defense)|
|Matt Proudfoot||Assistant Coach (Forwards)|
|Mzwandile Stick||Assistant coach (Individual player workload – off the ball)|
|Aled Walters||Head of Athletic Performance|
|Dr Konrad von Hagen||Team doctor|
|Lindsay Weyer||Technical Analyst|
|Charles Wessels||Head of Operations|
|JJ Fredericks||Logistics manager|
|Yusuf Hassan||Team Doctor|
The role and definition of the South Africa coach has varied significantly over the team's history. Hence a comprehensive list of coaches, or head selectors, is impossible. The following table is a list of coaches since the 1949 All Blacks tour to South Africa. Both World Cup-winning coaches, Christie and White, were inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011 alongside all other World Cup-winning head coaches through the 2007 edition.
Traditionally, most of the test matches (and all until 1987)[ citation needed ] against other countries happened during tours. The first team to visit South Africa were the British Lions in 1891. The first Springbok overseas tour was arranged in 1906–07 to Europe.
The combined exploits of Mandela and the Springboks in helping unify the country through rugby union was later chronicled in John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation , which in turn inspired Clint Eastwood's 2009 Academy Award-nominated film Invictus starring Matt Damon as Pienaar and Morgan Freeman as Mandela.
The British & Irish Lions is a rugby union team selected from players eligible for any of the Home Nations – the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Lions are a Test side and generally select international players, but they can pick uncapped players available to any one of the four unions. The team currently tours every four years, with these rotating among Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The most recent series, the 2017 series against New Zealand, was drawn 1-1.
The New Zealand national rugby union team, commonly known as the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's rugby union, which is considered to be the country's national sport. The team won the Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015, as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987.
The Australia national rugby union team, nicknamed the Wallabies, is the representative national team in the sport of rugby union for the nation of Australia. The team first played at Sydney in 1899, winning their first test match against the touring British Isles team.
Jacobus Francois Pienaar is a retired South African rugby union player. He played flanker for South Africa from 1993 until 1996, winning 29 international caps, all of them as captain. He is best known for leading South Africa to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After being dropped from the Springbok team in 1996, Pienaar went on to a career with English club Saracens.
Jake White is a rugby union coach and former coach of the South African national team – the Springboks – whom he coached to victory in 2007 Rugby World Cup and the 2004 Tri Nations. White also coached the Under-21 Springbok side to victory in the Under-21 World Cup in 2002. He was coach of the Brumbies in the Super Rugby from 2012, but resigned with two years remaining on his contract in 2013 to return to South Africa. On returning to South Africa, he coached the Sharks for a single season, explaining he wanted to seek international opportunities. This arose in a technical role with the Tongan national team. After assisting Tonga in their 3 Test European Tour, White was announced as Montpellier's new boss, overseeing all coaching aspects for the club.
John William Smit, OIS, is a South African former rugby union player and former chief executive officer of the Sharks. He was the 50th captain of the South Africa national rugby union team, and led the team to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He played most of his senior career as a hooker, but also won 13 caps as a prop, where he had also played for South Africa's under-21 team. He retired from international rugby following the 2011 Rugby World Cup as the most-capped South African player ever, with 111 appearances.
Bryan Gary Habana OIS is a South African former rugby union player who played as a wing. He most recently played for Toulon in the French Top 14 competition, and for the South Africa national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Rugby Union players in history.
Jean de Villiers is a former South African rugby union player. He started his career at wing, but played most of his career as an inside centre. De Villiers previously played for Western Province in the Currie Cup, the Stormers in Super Rugby, Leicester Tigers in Premiership Rugby and internationally for South Africa, for whom he was named captain in June 2012.
Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus is a World Cup winning South African rugby union coach and former international player. He is the former Director of Rugby of Irish provincial side Munster, having previously served as General Manager: High Performance Teams for South African Rugby Union. As of 2018, Erasmus is the South African national team's head coach, doubling up on his duties as the first ever SARU Director of Rugby, which he was appointed towards the end of 2017. After South Africa won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, he was awarded the World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2019.
Robert Maxwell Deans is a New Zealand rugby union coach and former player, currently the head coach of Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights. He was head coach of the Australian national team between 2008 and 2013. Deans had previously coached the Crusaders for eight seasons and was an assistant coach of New Zealand between late 2001 and 2003. As the coach of the Crusaders, Deans has won more Super rugby titles than any other. He has also coached Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship, winning the title in 1997. As a player, Deans represented Canterbury, first playing at fly half, and later fullback. He also played nineteen matches for the All Blacks, including five tests.
George Moir Christie, better known as Kitch Christie, was a South African rugby union coach best known for coaching the country's national team, the Springboks, to victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. He remained unbeaten during his tenure as Springbok rugby coach between 1994 and 1996, including leading the team to a then record 14 consecutive victories. In 2011, he was inducted posthumously into the IRB Hall of Fame, later subsumed into the World Rugby Hall of Fame, alongside all other Rugby World Cup-winning head coaches and captains through the 2007 edition.
Heinrich Wilhelm Brüssow is a former South African rugby union player. His usual position was as open-side flanker and his most recent club was Northampton Saints in the English Premiership.
Jan Nathaniel du Plessis is a South African rugby union player, who plays as a prop for Montpellier in the French Top 14. He played for the Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and the Cheetahs in Super Rugby until 2007, when he joined Durban-based side the Sharks, where he played until 2015. He won 70 caps for South Africa between 2007 and 2015.
Peter de Villiers is a South African rugby union player and coach. He was coach of the South Africa national rugby union team from 2008 to 2011, after successes with the South African U19 and U21 squads, and the first-ever non-white to be appointed to the position.
McNeil Hendricks, also known as "Maccie", is a former South African rugby union player who played primarily as a wing. He starred in the movie Invictus, in which he played the role of Chester Williams.
Malcolm Justin Marx is a South African rugby union player for the South Africa national team, the Lions in Super Rugby, the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup and the Golden Lions XV in the Rugby Challenge. His regular position is hooker, but he did play as a flanker at youth level for the Golden Lions.
Pieter Willem Gabriel Rossouw is a former South African rugby player and current coach. Rossouw played wing for Western Province in the Currie Cup and the Stormers in the Super Rugby competition. He played a total of 43 times for the Springboks, making him one of the most capped Springbok wingers after South Africa's readmission to international rugby. He was also one of South Africa's most prolific try-scoring wingers, post-isolation, with only Breyton Paulse(26) and Bryan Habana(53) scoring more tries. He is 7th on the all-time try-scoring list for the Springboks. Rossouw is currently the backline coach of the Bulls in Super rugby and the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup. He was known as "Slaptjips", apparently because the sight of his running legs was like potato chips slapping together. Pieter is the older brother of Chris Rossouw, who played flyhalf for Western Province and the Free State Cheetahs.
Dean Bradley Hall is a former South African rugby player. He played on the wing. He played the majority of his career for the Johannesburg based teams, the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup and the Cats in Super Rugby. Later in his career he moved to Durban and played for the Sharks in the Currie Cup, the Natal Wildebeest in the Vodacom Cup and the Sharks in Super Rugby. He was also capped thirteen times for the Springboks and scored four test tries. His career was hampered with injury and he never reached his full potential. He was quite large for a wing, but in the wake of Jonah Lomu's sensation at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, it was hoped that Dean Hall would become the Springbok's massive wing.
The History of the South Africa national rugby union team dates back to 1891, when the British Lions first toured South Africa where they played against South African representative sides. The South Africa national rugby union team played few international matches during a period of international sanctions due to apartheid. Since the end of apartheid in 1990–91, South Africa has once again fully participated in international rugby.
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