The Springboks will be hoping to make it three from three in World Cup finals when they take on England on Saturday. JOHN GOLIATH puts together his greatest-ever World Cup Bok team.
15 Percy Montgomery
Montgomery developed a new two-step goal-kicking technique that made him one of the deadliest sharpshooters at the 2007 World Cup. His experience in that tournament was also worth its weight in gold.
14 Cheslin Kolbe
It’s a tough call to leave both James Small and JP Pietersen out of this mix, but Kolbe is a special, special player whose best years are still to come. His ability to create a moment of magic from nothing sets him apart, while he also fights way above his weight class.
13 Jaque Fourie
The backline organiser played a crucial part in the Boks’ 2007 World Cup win. He will go down as one of the best defenders in the No 13 jersey, but he was also a superb player with ball in hand. He ran fantastic lines and made the game look easy.
12 Frans Steyn
Jean de Villiers’ World Cup curse opens the door for the enigmatic Steyn on this list. Had to step into the breach as a mop-haired rookie in 2007 and delivered the goods for Jake White’s team. Kicked a crucial long-range penalty to help the Boks seal the deal in the final against England.
11 Bryan Habana
There’s no debate here. Habana shares the record for the most tries (15) in Rugby World Cups. Scored a record eight tries at the 2007 World Cup in the Boks’ march to victory. One of the best rugby players to ever play the game.
10 Joel Stransky
Stransky gets the nod for his phenomenal goal-kicking during the 1995 World Cup, where he held his nerve from the kicking tee in both the semi-final and final. But it’s his dropped goal in the showpiece match against the All Blacks that will go down as the most important kick in South African rugby history.
9 Fourie du Preez
The master tactician just edges out the great Joost van Westhuizen. In terms of importance, Du Preez was White’s foremost player at the 2007 World Cup, because of his rugby intelligence and cultured right boot. One of the best scrumhalves to have ever played the game.
8 Duane Vermeulen
The big No 8 is playing in his third World Cup and has become one of South Africa’s most important players. Vermeulen is not only a world-class footballer, but in the last two World Cups he has also played a massive leadership role.
7 Juan Smith
What a player! Smith was a no-nonsense flank who carried the ball with venom and tackled anything that moved. But he was also a player with a lovely feel for the game, and always found himself in the right place at the right time. A great lineout option to boot.
6 Schalk Burger
The indefatigable Burger started off his World Cup career as an abrasive loose forward with no regard for his own body and morphed into a wonderful link player with a massive engine. His work rate is the stuff of legend, and he did a lot of the dirty work in the 2007 World Cup.
5 Victor Marfield
One of the greatest lineout exponents the world has ever seen. A master tactician, Matfield won the Man-of-the-Match award after the 2007 final when he disrupted the England set pieces.
4 Bakkies Botha
While Matfield brought the panache and the skill, his big mate Botha brought the pain and the aggression. Botha carried, cleaned and tackled like a berserker, but he was also a banker at the front of the lineout for the Boks.
3 Jannie du Plessis
The good doctor gets the nod gets the nod ahead of CJ van der Linde. Was the anchor of the Bok scrum and was never really dominated at the World Cup.
2 John Smit
Smit played in three World Cups, including the 2011 event as a tighthead prop. But it was his play and captaincy in the 2007 edition that cement his place as a South African rugby great. Smit was colossal for the Boks, his calm head also rubbing off on his players.
1 Os du Randt
The only South African player with two World Cup winners medals. Nobody will forget Os’ blue knee guard in the 1995 final, before he became one of White’s trump cards in the 2007 edition. Du Randt’s ability to scrum the opposition into the ground, as well as his play around park, are the stuff of legend.