South Africa has participated in 7 of the 9 RWC events after being excluded from the first two due to a boycott amid the apartheid era. They hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup after the end of apartheid and won the competition. They were winners again at the 2007 tournament in France. Then, after losing a match during the pool stage, the Springboks created history when they defeated England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
Despite playing in fewer tournaments, the Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks are equal for the most tournament victories at the Rugby World Cup, with three each. They are also the only rugby team to have triumphed in each World Cup final they have participated in.
- RWC debut: 25 May, 1995 v Australia at Newlands, Cape Town
- RWC appearances: Played 43 – Won 36 Drawn 0 Lost 7 – Points for 1,512 Points against 552 – Win ratio 84 per cent
- Most RWC appearances: Schalk Burger, 20
- Most RWC tries: Bryana Habana, 15
- Best finish: Champions 1995, 2007, 2019
- Qualification for RWC 2023: RWC 2019 champions
Most Famous Victory
Both Springboks’ finals against England and the 1995 final versus New Zealand were sheer drama. The Webb Ellis Cup’s fate was still up in the air after the scores were tied at 9-9 at halftime and 12-12 in overtime when Joel Stransky took the ball from Joost van der Westhuizen and dropped kicked himself and the Springboks into history.
Related: South Africa Schedule
Most Memorable Moment
In addition to Siya Kolisi leading the Springboks to victory in 2019 as the team’s first black captain, the image of Nelson Mandela presenting the Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar while wearing the Springbok captain’s number six jersey in 1995 will always stand out as the Rugby World Cup’s most iconic moment.
South Africa won the world championship in 1995 and again in 2007, whereas Japan had not triumphed in an RWC match since 1991. Nobody prayed for the Brave Blossoms. However, a late try from Karne Hesketh caused the Springboks to lose 34-32, causing the largest upset in the competition’s history.
The Chester Williams. Williams, who is regrettably no longer with us, was only the third non-white player to suit up for the Springboks in 1993. He became the reluctant face of the 1995 Rugby World Cup two years later. His participation in RWC 1995 was delayed by injury until the quarterfinals. Still, he made an immediate impact with four tries against Samoa and went on to play a crucial role in the semifinal and championship matches.
Top Record Breaker
Bryan Habana unquestionably fits that description—anyone with a record with Jonah Lomu must be terrific. In a 64-0 victory over the USA at RWC 2015, the lightning-quick winger completed a hat-trick to tie Lomu’s record for the most tournament tries, bringing his total to 15.
South Africa Tentative Squad
Head coach Jacques Nienaber has had several alignment camps but named a 40-man training squad for the Rugby Championship. The squad includes Ireland international Jean Kleyn, who has been cleared to play for the Springboks.
Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Joseph Dweba, Malcom Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Evan Roos, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, Deon Fourie, Franco Mostert, Jean-Luc du Preez.
Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams, Manie Libbok, Handre Pollard, Damian Willemse, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie Le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie