The 2009 Boks go up against the 2007 world champions in the quest to crown the best Bok team of all time.
In the opening round of this poll series, the ‘09 Boks crushed Nick Mallett’s 17-win heroes of 1998 to set up a clash with the winners of the 2007 World Cup in France.
The 2007 Bok team was arguably the most balanced South African side of all time, perfectly blending brutal forwards and crafty backs.
With the 2007 World Cup looming, the Boks protected injured players by fielding an under-strength team in the Australasian leg of the Tri-Nations, where they finished rock bottom, but it turned out to be the right move given how the World Cup unfolded.
Averaging just under five tries per match at the World Cup, the ’07 Boks produced ruthless finishing from a backline that complemented the unrelenting physicality of a bristling pack.
The Boks went unbeaten during the pool stage of the tournament as they scalped England, Samoa, Tonga, and the United States before making light work of Fiji and Argentina in the knockouts en route to the final, where they faced and beat England once more.
Retaining most of the players that had won the World Cup two years prior in France, the 2009 Bok side signalled South Africa’s return to the top of rugby.
Seasoned players like John Smit, Victor Matfield, and Bakkies Botha featured in a formidable forward pack, while the blistering pace of Bryan Habana and the deadly centre combination of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie wreaked havoc in the midfield.
The victory over the 2009 British & Irish Lions may be what this Bok side is best remembered for, but arguably more impressive was their 3-0 whitewash of the All Blacks, a historic feat that culminated in the Boks lifting the Tri-Nations trophy.