WP Nel had a good run but it came to an end when SARugbymag.co.za readers voted Lappies Labuschagne’s Japanese revival the superior tale of redemption.
It was one rebound too far for Nel after dismissing Ashley Johnson and Raymond Rhule in the first two rounds, with Labuschagne striking down the Scotland prop’s streak by 10% in the third round of this poll series.
Called up to the Springbok squad in 2013, Labuschagne never made it onto the field for South Africa, but continued to ply his trade for the Cheetahs and Bulls before heading off to Japan to join the Kubota Spears in 2016.
In addition to playing for Kubota, where he made 41 appearances and scored two tries, Labuschagne also had a short stint of seven games with the Sunwolves in 2018.
After fulfilling World Rugby’s three-year residency law, Labuschagne became eligible to play for Japan, captaining the side on debut against Fiji in 2019, and a few months later at the RWC, he wore the armband in the Brave Blossoms’ famous pool stage victory over Ireland.
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