With 11 days until the start of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, SARugbymag.co.za takes a look at the greatest Springbok left wings to play at the tournament.
Despite missing much of the tournament due to injury, Williams was one of the stars of the 1995 World Cup. The first Bok player of colour since Errol Tobias and Avril Williams in the 1980s, Williams set a Bok record when he dotted down four times against Western Samoa in the quarter-final.
Affectionately dubbed “The Black Pearl”, the man from Paarl ended his international career in 2000 with 14 tries in 27 Tests.
Statistically the greatest winger in Bok history, Bryan Habana cemented his place among the sport’s elite with a series of outstanding displays during the 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph. Habana began the tournament by replicating Chester Williams in scoring four tries against Samoa and, in the semi-final against Argentina, equalled Jonah Lomu’s record of eight tries in a single tournament.
In 2014, Habana became the fourth Springbok to reach 100 Tests and, by the end of his international career in 2016, he had represented South Africa in three World Cups, becoming the Springboks’ all-time leading try-scorer with 67 from 124 Tests.
At 1.93m, Pieter Rossouw – dubbed “Slaptjips” – was one of the tallest wings in Springbok history. In a six-year international career, the lanky speedster scored 21 tries in 43 Tests.
Rossouw appeared in one World Cup tournament in 1999, where he scored in the quarter-final victory over England.
A very late bloomer as far as wingers go, Mapimpi made his Test debut for the Springboks in 2018 at the age of 27. Originally playing on the right wing for the Springboks, Mapimpi never looked back after the left wing position was opened by Aphiwe Dyantyi’s suspension in 2019.
Mapimpi would score six tries at the 2019 World Cup, including a brace against Japan in the quarter-finals and South Africa’s first try in a World Cup final. He is set to make his second World Cup tournament appearance in France.