• Most underrated Boks: Danie Rossouw

    In the latest addition to our new series, CRAIG LEWIS identifies hard-as-nails Danie Rossouw as one of the most underrated Springboks.

    In previous selections for this series, the majority of players fell into the category of featuring in a limited number of Tests when there is reason to believe they deserved far more international appearances.

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    When it comes to Rossouw, though, the versatile forward featured in a considerable 63 Tests. However, he is a player who falls slap bang into the category of someone who did the hard yards to such great effect, but rarely won the headlines or plaudits that would have been befitting.

    Of course, Rossouw is most well known for his famous try-saving tackle in the 2007 World Cup final, but that was simply a micro example of the extreme athleticism of this tireless performer.

    Rossouw’s frontline role at No 8 at the World Cup in France came after Pierre Spies endured health troubles, while epitomising his ability to play across the back row (not to mention the fact he also started 14 Tests at lock).

    By that stage in 2007, he was already in his late 20s, but would also fulfil an important impact role off the bench in the first two victorious Tests against the British & Irish Lions in 2009.

    Rossouw’s swansong on the Test stage came at the 2011 World Cup, with the 33-year-old starting five games in the second row.

    In keeping with the style of Rossouw’s on-field play, the end to his international career came without much fanfare, but there can be no denying that he was one of the most effective forwards to have ever donned the green and gold.

    Besides his versatility, Rossouw was a supreme athlete, formidable defender, effective ball-carrier and tireless grafter who deserved more credit than he often received.

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    Craig Lewis