In the third and final piece of a series, DYLAN JACK rewinds to 2009 British & Irish Lions tour and looks at where those Emerging Springboks are now.
16 Tiaan Liebenberg
After playing for the Emerging Springboks, Liebenberg resumed his role as a frontline hooker for the Stormers and Western Province. In 2009, he would make a short-term loan move to Toulon, making six appearances for the side.
The workmanlike hooker had already played for the Springboks against the Barbarians in 2007, but made his first official Test appearance against Australia in 2012.
After helping Western Province win their second Currie Cup in three years in 2014, he announced his retirement from all rugby. He made a short return to rugby in 2016 with the Free State XV.
Currently, Liebenberg works as part of the Central University of Technology coaching staff, after serving as the team’s head coach in 2018.
17 Pat Cilliers
Cilliers continued to play for the Sharks, but his game time in Durban was impacted by knee injuries. After helping the Sharks win the 2010 Currie Cup, Cilliers moved to the Lions – where he would win the Currie Cup again in 2011, scoring a try against his former side in the final.
His form in Johannesburg led to a call-up to the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship in 2012 and he made his debut against Argentina.
Cilliers then moved to the Stormers in 2013 and won his third Currie Cup with Western Province in 2014, helping them beat the Lions in the final. Following that, he joined Jake White’s Saffa revolution at Montpellier – where he played until joining the Leicester Tigers in 2016.
Currently, Cilliers plays in the Premiership for London Irish after helping the side gain promotion from the Championship last year.
18 Franco van der Merwe
Van der Merwe continued to play for the Lions, where he started his professional career in 2006.
After the Lions were relegated from Super Rugby, Van der Merwe was allowed to join the Sharks on loan for the 2013 season but rejoined the Lions for the subsequent Currie Cup season and stayed in Johannesburg after the team won promotion back to Super Rugby.
The 2014 Super Rugby season would be Van der Merwe’s last with the Lions as he joined Ulster and was named in the PRO12 Team of the Year after his first season in Ireland.
He would stay in Ireland for three years and after a move to the Cardiff Blues fell through on financial grounds, he convinced London Irish to sign him in 2017.
He made a fast impression in England and led the team in 2018 and 2019 and is currently their first-choice No 5 lock.
19 Jacques Botes
Botes continued to play for the Sharks and left his mark on Kings Park as he broke the record for most Currie Cup appearances in 2013 – when he played his 143rd match against Western Province.
The openside flank then became the first player to make 150 Currie Cup appearances in 2014 and finished his Sharks career with a total of 156 in the competition when he retired.
Unfortunately, Botes did not get the opportunity to play for the Springboks during his career but he did play for the Barbarians in 2014.
20 Heini Adams
2009 would be a memorable year for Adams as he helped the Vodacom Bulls win Super Rugby and Currie Cup titles, before earning a call-up to the Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour. While he did not earn an official Test cap, he did play for the Boks in a midweek match against the Leicester Tigers.
The scrumhalf left the Bulls for Bordeaux in 2010 and helped the team win promotion to the French Top 14 in his first season. He remained a key player for Bordeaux until retiring from all rugby in 2016.
Adams then started his coaching career and was named a member of the coaching staff of a French Barbarians side to play South Africa A in 2017. He has since had a role at Biarritz and currently serves as a technical coach at Bordeaux.
21 Willem de Waal
The hero of the day, De Waal showed his experience by nailing the touchline conversion which gave the Emerging Boks a draw with the Lions.
De Waal continued to play for the Stormers and Western Province – his fourth Super Rugby team including the Bulls, Cats and Cheetahs. He won the Currie Cup three times with the Cheetahs – in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – and then helped Western Province make the Currie Cup final in 2010.
The flyhalf then moved to Italy with Benetton Treviso and retired in 2012.
22 Danwel Demas
The other hero of the match, Demas scored the all-important, last-minute try in the corner which gave De Waal the conversion.
The journeyman wing would continue to play for the Cheetahs in 2009 after stints with the Bulls and Boland Cavaliers.
In 2010, Demas moved overseas with French ProD2 side Aironi, but returned to South Africa the following year for his second stint with the Cavaliers.
Demas then played for the Pumas and Griffons and got his third stint with the Cavaliers in 2014, playing for the side well into his thirties.
In 2015, he played club rugby for Durbanville-Bellville, helping them win the Community Cup.
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images