Three Springbok forwards have been included in the top 20 of a list of the 100 best rugby players in the world.
With just one week to go until the opening fixture of the 2023 World Cup, the Telegraph has ranked the 100 best rugby players.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, utility back Damian Willemse, flyhalf Handre Pollard and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk were all snubbed for a place in the top 20, Willemse ranked in the 90s and the Bok skipper relegated to 53rd place behind the likes of Wallabies tighthead prop Taniela Tupou.
There are, however, three Springbok forwards in the cream of the crop.
Loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff comes in at number 19 and is the highest-ranked prop on the list.
“The world’s best loosehead, no question, given Kitshoff’s ability to overwhelm opposing tightheads and muscle his way around the field,” writes the Telegraph.
Kitshoff is closely followed by fellow Bok front ranker Malcolm Marx, who is ranked at number 18.
“When you then add in his phenomenal work at the breakdown winning turnovers and ability to crack defences open with ball in hand, then you have some player.”
The highest-ranked of the Springboks is Eben Etzebeth, with the centurion ranked as the second-best player in the world.
“Ferocious, dynamic and shrewd, Etzebeth is the apex enforcer of Test rugby union.”
France captain and scrumhalf Antoine Dupont takes home the gold medal as the best player in the world on the list.
“Rugby’s Hercules, France’s hero, who is already threatening inclusion in all-time world XVs and attracting god-like status in French rugby mythology,” says the Telegraph.