Graphic: Bok Dream Team vs World 23

After playing selector, we line up editor CRAIG LEWIS’ Springbok Dream Team against senior contributor WADE PRETORIUS’ World 23. Which side do you think would come out on top?

During this time of lockdown, the SA Rugby magazine team has put on their selectors hats and picked their ideal Bok sides from the past 25 years, while also selecting a World Dream Team.

To take it one step further, we’ve hypothetically pitted two of these teams against each other.

In our Bok Dream Team, editor Craig Lewis opted for a backline blended with both pace and power, as well as a host of proven World Cup winners.

Among the forwards, there was the selection of legendary combinations up front in Beast Mtawarira and the Du Plessis brothers, as well as Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield to complete an abrasive tight five.

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In addition to a loose trio that includes Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen, Juan Smith was picked to hypothetically start at blindside flank, with Pieter-Steph du Toit preferred as a utility impact option off the bench.

As a result of the versatility also offered offered by Frans Steyn as a substitute, the option has opened up to go with the Bok World Cup ‘Bomb Squad’ strategy of a six-two forwards-to-backs bench split.

Meanwhile, in Pretorius’ World Dream Team, he opted to only consider overseas internationals, which also allows us to consider how these two sides might fare if they faced off.

An all-All Black front row has the strength of Tony Woodcock, the leadership of Sean Fitzpatrick and the all-round ability of Owen Franks. Behind them in the scrum, you have one of England’s finest ever players in Martin Johnson – one of the few players who could match the South African’s brute force, alongside one of Australia’s legends in John Eales.

With the formidable Bok loose trio selected by Lewis, the opposition features France’s World Cup star Thierry Dusautoir alongside Kiwi pair Richie McCaw and Kieran Read. To add to the strength, breakdown expert George Smith is available on the bench.

The backline features not only the finest players from their respective countries but players who would cause selection headaches when expanding the team from beyond the last 25 years. Daniel Carter, Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen are some of the impactful players to have graced the game and are more than suitably backed up by a physical combination of Nonu-O’Driscoll. To have English maestro Jonny Wilkinson and Wallabies wizard David Campese on the bench goes to show the unprecedented depth of talent in one side.


Lewis says: Of course this is primarily all about a bit of fun, considering it’s almost impossible to imagine how all these legends would actually gel in these hypothetical teams. But damn it’s still enjoyable to do a bit of daydreaming during these lockdown times. Typically my heart wants to say the Bok Dream Team would beat all-comers, but when looking at a World 23 with Dan Carter, Jonah Lomu, Brian O’Driscoll, Richie McCaw, Martin Johnson and Sean Fitzpatrick, I have to admit I think they’d just edge an almighty battle 28-25.

Pretorius says: Putting aside national bias, this is the prospect we, as fans and students of the game, have always toyed with. Our country’s best against the best of the rest … going back 25 years has increased the ‘intensity of the clash’. Getting into the battle, there are no key areas which either side could boast a clear advantage. Some might even say, the result could be in the balance as to which side gets the 50-50 calls on the day or perhaps a moment of madness from a foul play point of view may decide it. If this match was played on home soil, I’m going Springboks 18-16 … with a Montgomery penalty in the 78th minute.