Over the past couple of years a large number of South Africa’s best players and coaches have left in the hope of finding ‘greener grass’ overseas.
This mass exodus has left the country with a lack of depth and experience in the national team, and has ultimately caused all their recent struggles.
Here we have made a domestic-based team and will be comparing it to a XV of South African exports before selecting our ultimate combined (domestic and overseas) Springboks XV.
Springbok Domestic XV
1. Ox Nche (Cheetahs)
The 21-year-old has been impressive in his first full season for the Bloemfontein and could definitely find himself in the Springbok squad within the next two seasons.
2. Malcolm Marx (Lions)
One of the outstanding youngsters in South African rugby, the former eighth man has been touted as the next possible long-term choice for the hooker spot within the Springbok camp.
3. Julian Redlinghuys (Lions)
One of the more experienced props still in South Africa, Redlinghuys has been impressive for both the Lions and the Springboks and could cement his place in the national side once he returns from injury.
4. Eben Etzebeth (Stormers)
With over 50 test caps to his name, the young second row is already regarded as one of the best locks in the world. Etzebeth will be key to the success of South African rugby going forward.
5. Pieter-Steph Du Toit (Stormers)
Another youngster who has been impressive on the international stage is utility forward Pieter-Steph Du Toit. Capable of playing as a lock or a loose forward, Du Toit, along with Etzebeth, are considered by many as the future of South African rugby.
6. Jaco Kriel (Lions)
South Africa’s form loose forward has so far been given very limited opportunities in the Springbok jersey, but his form in Super Rugby shows that he has the potential to perform on the international stage.
7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers)
Another talented loose forward, Notshe was impressive in his debut Super Rugby season, coupled with some excellent performances for the South African ‘A’ side. The young flanker may very well get his opportunity come the end of the year.
8. Warren Whiteley (Lions)
A potential Springbok captain, the Lions backrower has led from the front with some stellar performances against the likes of New Zealand and is starting to prove his worth as a Springbok forward.
9. Faf de Klerk (Lions)
The dynamic scrumhalf has enjoyed a fantastic year, helping the Lions to their first ever Super Rugby final, along with earning his first ever Springbok cap. And if De Klerk continues his rise he has the potential to be South Africa’s first choice scrumhalf for the next ten years.
10. Patrick Lambie (Sharks)
South Africa’s golden boy has been hampered with injuries over the past couple of seasons, but when fit and playing regularly, he is undoubtedly South Africa’s premier fly-half.
11. Courtnall Skosan (Lions)
Unlucky not to earn recognition for his fantastic Super Rugby season, the flying Lions winger could very well find himself in the Springbok set-up in the next couple seasons.
12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Lions)
One of the shock exclusions from the Springbok Rugby Championship squad was definitely 22-year-old Rohan Janse van Rensburg. The inside centre has bundles of ability and with time could become a midfield general in the South African team.
13. Francois Venter (Cheetahs)
The Cheetahs captain enjoyed a fantastic season for a struggling Cheetahs franchise, and has been crucial to his side’s current Currie Cup form. Venter’s offloading ability, along with his knack of finding gaps would make him an ideal centre for the Springboks.
14. Sergeal Petersen (Cheetahs)
Petersen burst onto the scene in 2013 as a 19-year-old for the Southern Kings. Since then he has enhanced his reputation as a fantastic finisher and recently earned a call-up to the South African ‘A’ side.
15. Ruan Combrinck (Lions)
South Africa’s standout player against Ireland, the Lions’ outside back was brilliant with ball in hand, terrorising the Irish defence. But after breaking his leg against Argentina in the Rugby Championship, Combrinck will have to regain his fitness before he can considered for the Springbok squad again.
Coach: Johan Ackermann
Springbok Overseas XV:
1. Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux)
One of the many former Stormers who have headed to France, Kitshoff has already impressed during his short stint at Bordeaux. So much so that the South African Rugby Union have tried to persuade the prop to return home.
2. Bismarck Du Plessis (Montpellier)
Arguably still one of the world’s best hookers, Du Plessis has been frozen out of the Springbok squad due to the appointment of Adriaan Strauss as Springbok captain. But Du Plessis, still has plenty to offer, with superb skills in the loose and tidy scrummaging and lineout skills. He should still be considered South Africa’s best hooker.
3. Vincent Koch (Saracens)
After once again impressing for the Stormers and Springboks this year, Koch will be heading to Saracens later this year. Koch will be hoping to be a mainstay in the Saracens team over the next couple of seasons, and ultimately cement his place in the Springbok squad.
4. Franco Mostert (Lyon)
After a fantastic season in Super Rugby the newly-capped Springbok lock has been lured to France. It remains to be seen whether the 24-year-old will be cast out of Springbok contention due to his move, but with time on his side he will definitely be in the mix in the years to come.
5. Juandre Kruger (Sale)
One of unluckiest players in South African rugby over the past decade, Kruger has found his chances limited due to the formidable partnerships of Botha and Matfield and more recently Etzebeth and Steph Du Toit. But Kruger is still a fantastic option for any side, and shows the depth in the South African lock department.
6. Francois Louw (Bath)
Another player who has been impressive, since moving up north. The Bath captain has lead from the front and has been a key figure for the English side. Although his performances for the Springboks have left much to be desired in recent times, he is still an important part of their set-up.
7. Marcell Coetzee (Ulster)
After an injury-hit season for the Sharks, Coetzee has decided to pack his bags and head for Ireland. A fantastic ball-carrying loose forward, the South African will be looking to make his mark in Irish rugby and hopefully force his way back into the Springbok team.
8. Duane Vermuelen (Toulon)
The 2014 IRB Rugby Player of Year nominee has been a shining light in France since he left South Africa in 2015. The loose forward’s physical presence makes him a nightmare for any opposition defence, and provides South Africa with an alternative to Whiteley.
9. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
A player reborn after his move to England, culminating in an Olympic bronze medal with the South African sevens side, Hougaard is a fantastic option at scrumhalf, offering something different to De Klerk.
10. Morne Steyn (Stade Français)
A stalwart of South African rugby, with over 700 test match points, Steyn‘s impressive goal-kicking abilities have made him a hit in France and his international experience could still be vital to the Springbok set-up.
11. Bryan Habana (Toulon)
One of South Africa’s greatest ever players, the experienced winger is coming to the end of his international career. But, Habana could still play an important role in the near future as South Africa search for his successor.
12. Francois Steyn (Montpellier)
A World Cup winner at the age of 20, Steyn looked destined for stardom. But contract disputes and feuds with coaches have led to Steyn being shunned by the Springbok selectors. However, at 29 there is still time for the utility back to make his mark once again.
13. Johan Goosen (Racing)
Although his form in this year’s Rugby Championship hasn’t been great, Goosen is undeniably a fantastic talent. And if he can recreate the form he showed throughout the European season, he will definitely be one to watch.
14. JP Pietersen (Leicester)
After moving to England at the end of the 2016 Super Rugby season, Pietersen has made an immediate impact in Leicester. An experienced winger with bags of ability, he still has plenty to offer the Green and Gold of South African rugby.
15. Gio Aplon (Grenoble)
After moving to France the former Stormers fullback has continued the form that won him his first test cap in 2010. Although he is getting on in terms of age, he wouldn’t look out of place in the current Springbok team.
Coach: Jake White
Combined (Domestic & Overseas) Springbok XV:
- Steven Kitshoff
- Bismarck Du Plessis
- Julian Redlinghuys
- Eben Etzebeth
- Pieter-Steph du Toit
- Jaco Kriel
- Marcell Coetzee
- Warren Whiteley (C)
- Faf De Klerk
- Patrick Lambie
- Bryan Habana
- Rohan Janse Van Rensberg
- Francois Venter
- Ruan Combrinck
- Francois Steyn
Darren Holliday, Pundit Arena
Read More About: Allister Coetzee, bismarck du plessis, bryan habana, Eben Etzebeth, european rugby, Faf de Klerk, Overseas Players, Rugby Selection, South African rugby, southern hemisphere rugby, springboks, springboks news, Warren Whiteley