SARugbymag.co.za looks at where the 33 World Cup-winning Springboks will feature in the lead-up to the 2020 Test season.
Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France)
A central figure in the Springboks’ unlikely, yet epic, World Cup triumph, Cheslin Kolbe has now returned to French champions Toulouse. The 26-year-old has signed a long-term contract that will keep him in France until 2023.
Damian de Allende (Wild Knights, Japan/Munster, Ireland)
Damian de Allende, who featured in all seven of South Africa’s World Cup games, has signed a short-term deal with the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan. He will not be available to the Stormers as his Japanese contract runs from January to May. It’s believed that De Allende will join Munster in June ahead of the start 2020-21 European season. Since his debut for the Stormers in 2013, De Allende has made 91 Super Rugby appearances.
Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)
After the Boks’ five-day trophy parade in South Africa, Lukhanyo Am flew to London to represent the Barbarians against Fiji. He will return home and join the Sharks’ pre-season training ahead of next year’s Super Rugby campaign, during which he is expected to be a key figure in the Durban-based franchise’s quest for a maiden title.
Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls)
The 24-year-old had limited game time throughout the World Cup and will return to action for the Bulls in Super Rugby next season.
Elton Jantjies (Lions)
Like Gelant, Jantjies only played in two World Cup matches this year. He will next be seen in action for the Lions in Super Rugby. Jantjies has already made 136 appearances in the competition for the Lions and Stormers combined and will look to extend that number to 150 Super Rugby caps in 2020.
Herschel Jantjies (Stormers)
Herschel Jantjies had an incredible 2019 season. After becoming the Stormers’ first-choice scrumhalf, he went on to make his Test debut. He subsequently won the Rugby Championship and World Cup with the Springboks. Jantjies’ performances were rewarded with a nomination in World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year category. He remains contracted to the Stormers and will play in just his second full Super Rugby season for the Cape side next year.
Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England)
Faf de Klerk will return to Sale Sharks in England. The 28-year-old scrumhalf will be based at the AJ Bell Stadium until at least 2023 after signing a five-year contract extension in 2018. De Klerk looks set to make his first club appearance for the season in early in December.
Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)
The Springboks’ try-scoring machine will remain with the Sharks for the 2020 Super Rugby season. New head coach Sean Everitt will be hoping that Mapimpi replicates the form he showed at the World Cup when he dons the black jersey of the Sharks next year.
Sbu Nkosi (Sharks)
Sbu Nkosi is another who didn’t feature as prominently as he would’ve liked during the World Cup. The wing will be aiming to show what he can do during the Sharks’ Super Rugby campaign.
Handre Pollard (Montpellier, France)
Handre Pollard signed a mega deal to join Montpellier after the World Cup. The Springbok flyhalf, who suffered a broken cheekbone during the World Cup final, has already departed for France and could make his debut for the club within the next couple of weeks.
Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England)
Cobus Reinach has already returned to action for the Northampton Saints, a club he has been playing for since 2017. However, reports suggest that Reinach could trade the Saints for Montpellier at the end of the current European season.
Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan)
Willie le Roux concluded a lengthy spell at Wasps before the World Cup and will now play for Toyota Verblitz in the Japanese Top League. He will play under former Springbok coach Jake White at the club.
Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)
Two-time World Cup-winner Frans Steyn has returned to Montpellier in France. With his contract coming to an end in January, however, the utility back has confirmed that he will move back to Bloemfontein in 2020. It is not yet clear whether he will sign on to play for the Cheetahs in the PRO14 once he is back.
Damian Willemse (Saracens, England/Stormers)
As a result of his initial omission from the Springboks’ World Cup squad, Damian Willemse signed a short-term deal with English champions Saracens. He was then called up to the Bok squad in Japan as an injury replacement. Willemse has now returned to Sarries to see out the remainder of his contract, which runs until 31 December. The 21-year-old will be back for the Stormers ahead of the Super Rugby season.
Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles, Japan)
Jesse Kriel, who was ruled out of the World Cup after sustaining a hamstring injury in the Boks’ first game of the tournament against the All Blacks, has signed on to play for the Canon Eagles in Japan. He will be coached by former Bok boss Allister Coetzee.
Schalk Brits (Retired)
Schalk Brits played a major supporting role for the Boks across the recent World Cup campaign. The 38-year-old captained South Africa in the pool games against Namibia and Canada. Brits will go back into retirement after playing for the Barbarians this year.
Malcolm Marx (Shining Arcs, Japan)
Malcolm Marx was usurped by Bongi Mbonambi as the starting Springbok hooker, but came back into his best form towards the latter stages of the World Cup. Marx has extended his contract with the Lions until 2021, but will be taking a sabbatical in 2020 after signing a short-term deal with the Shining Arcs in Japan.
Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers)
One of the form players of 2019, Bongi Mbonambi will be back in Stormers’colours for the 2019 Super Rugby season, despite reportedly receiving an enticing offer from the Kings.
Thomas du Toit (Toulouse, France/Sharks)
After not being named in the original 31-man World Cup squad, Thomas du Toit was called up to replace Trevor Nyakane after the latter picked up an injury. The 24-year-old was on loan to Toulouse, but will be back for the Sharks next year.
Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)
The super sub is one of several Springboks who have opted to remain with the Stormers for next year’s Super Rugby campaign. He is likely to get more game time for the Boks after Tendai Mtwarira’s retirement from Test rugby.
Vincent Koch (Saracens, England)
A vital member of the Springbok ‘bomb squad’, Vincent Koch will go back to Saracens, where he is still contracted until 2022 after signing an extension in 2018.
Frans Malherbe (Stormers)
The Springboks’ first-choice tighthead prop will remain at the Stormers next year.
Tendai Mtawarira (Retired from international rugby)
Beast Mtawarira called time on his Test career, ending on the highest of highs after winning a Rugby Championship and World Cup double. The 34-year-old will play for the Barbarians, but it is unclear where he will play beyond that as he has also called time on his Sharks career, hinting at a move abroad.
Trevor Nyakane (Bulls)
Trevor Nyakane picked up an injury in the World Cup warm-up match against Japan, which he aggravated in the opener against the All Blacks. The versatitle prop will be back for the Bulls in 2020.
Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks, England)
De Jager played five games at the World Cup and started in the final, but was replaced before half time after picking up an injury. The lock will add to the ranks of South Africans playing for the Sale Sharks, but will miss a majority of the 2019-20 season after he underwent surgery on his shoulder.
Eben Etzebeth (Toulon, France)
Eben Etzebeth will bring his eight-year association with the Stormers to an end when he joins French giants Toulon after a short break.
Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England)
Another who played a big supporting role from the bench, Franco Mostert will return to English Premiership side Gloucester, who he joined midway through last year.
RG Snyman (Honda Heat, Japan)
RG Snyman is set to miss the Bulls’ Super Rugby campaign after signing a deal to play for Honda Heat. Munster are also reportedly interested in signing the giant lock.
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers)
The 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year for will stay at the Stormers and play in the Cape next year.
Siya Kolisi (Stormers)
The Springbok captain will continue to lead the Stormers next season.
Francois Louw (Bath, England)
Francois Louw retired from Test rugby after the World Cup final. The 34-year-old flank will be soon be back at Bath, where he has played since 2011.
Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Jubilo, Japan)
After an excellent season with the Lions, Kwagga Smith was named in the 31-man squad for the World Cup and played against Namibia and Canada. Smith will be unavailable for the Lions next year as he has signed a similar deal with Japanese club Yamaha Jubilo as Marx has with the Shining Arcs.
Duane Vermeulen (Kubota Spears, Japan)
Duane Vermeulen starred for the Bulls upon his return to South African rugby in 2019. The experienced No 8 will play in Japan next year with the Kubota Spears.
Compiled by Mariette Adams and Dylan Jack
Photo: World Rugby