Former Wales star James Hook has picked three World Cup-winning Springboks in his all-time dream team.
Selecting his best of the best for Wales Online, Hook’s lineup includes nine World Cup winners and two former World Player of the Year winners.
Schalk Brits, whose final outing in the green and gold was during SA’s 2019 RWC glory in Japan, packs down in the front row with Welshman Gethin Jenkins and Frenchman Nicolas Mas.
“I just couldn’t get over his X factor,” Hook said of Brits. “He spent a lot of the time in the backfield, where hookers rarely stray, and had a fantastic array of skills. He was on top of the basics but he could also handle, run and pass like a back.”
A 2007 World Cup hero, Bok wing Bryan Habana forms a back three with Kiwis Joe Rokocoko and Mils Muliaina.
Commenting on Habana’s inclusion, Hook said: “The quickest wing I came up against, a real blink-and-you’ll-miss-him type of player.
“I remember Shane Williams facing him in South Africa in 2008. It was a battle within a battle and Shane edged it, which showed how good he was, but on other days Habana caused Wales no end of problems.”
Legendary Bok hard man Bakkies Botha slots into the second row alongside former British & Irish Lions skipper Paul O’Connell.
Explaining Botha’s selection, Hook said: “I wouldn’t want my dream team to get bullied up front, so I had to find a place for this man, an enforcer apart. He could play and had skills but his game centred on huge physicality and he relished the battles.
“Also, a nice bloke off the field, which didn’t quite square with his fearsome nature on it.”
Australian George Gregan and Kiwi Dan Carter, and Irishman Brian O’Driscoll and ex-All Black Sonny Bill Williams, make up the halfback and midfield pairings, respectively.
Kiwi icon Richie McCaw completes the XV in the loose trio with Italian Sergio Parisse and former Wallabies fetcher George Smith.