The South African government’s ‘Strategic Transformation policy’, which has as its objective to see 50% of Springbok’s squad made up of non-white players by 2019, has caused plenty of controversy.
But what would South Africa’s national team look like without quotas? We take a look at South Africa’s strongest XV without the quota system:
15. Cheslin Kolbe:
One of South Africa’s most exciting young talents, the uncapped 5ft 7in, 11st 5lbs Stormers full-back is a potent attacking weapon.
Lightening quick with fantastic feet, the ability to cut fantastic lines, a sharp rugby brain and a good boot, the 22 year-old has that x-factor.
Having improved his defence, Kolbe is ready to weave his magic for the national team.
14. Ruan Combrinck:
The Golden Lions flyer has made an excellent start to his international career, scoring twice in four tests since his debut against Ireland in June, before a leg injury against Argentina last month halted his progress.
Blessed with a fantastic sidestep, pace to burn and a desire to always take people on, the 26 year-old is a class act.
13. Jesse Kriel:
One of South Africa’s standout performers at last year’s World Cup, the versatile 22 year-old Blue Bulls star has a big future in the green and gold jersey.
Accomplished at full-back with the ability to also play on the wing, 15 times capped Kriel is quick, runs excellent lines, possesses a big boot and constantly poses questions of opposition defences.
12. Damian De Allende:
An incisive and powerful runner with great off-loading skills and solid defence, the Stormers No12 is an excellent player.
Capped 19 times since his debut in 2014, the 2015 South African Super Rugby Player of the Season gives the Springboks power and creativity in midfield.
Still working his way back to his best since suffering a serious ankle injury at the end of 2015, De Allende will be a handful for Wales and co come the autumn internationals.
11. Bryan Habana:
Second in the world all time top try scorers list with 66 tries, joint first on the all time World Cup top try scorers list with Jonah Lomu, having scored 15 tournament touchdowns, South Africa’s greatest ever winger is a true legend.
Still quick, the 33 year-old Toulon speedster has fantastic feet, runs excellent lines as his try against the All Blacks showed, is an arch poacher, and is defensively sound.
10. Handre Pollard:
The 22 year-old starred in all of the Boks 2015 World Cup games, and was the man in possession of the 10 shirt, before a freak training ground accident earlier this year ruled him out for the season.
An excellent tactical kicker with highly impressive distribution and game management skills, and an ability to pierce opposition defences, the powerful 6ft 2in, 15st 1lb star could become a springbok great.
9. Faf de Klerk:
Only 5ft 8in and 12st 8lbs, the Lions scrum-half is a ball of energy. Extremely quick and dangerous around the fringes with an eye for a gap and a lovely pass, De Klerk is a quality player.
After being one of the stand out players in the series win over Ireland and impressing in the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina, the seven-times capped star has struggled as South Africa have lost three on the trot.
But expect the energetic ‘Faf’ to bounce back soon.
8. Duane Vermeulen:
Another star currently out injured, the Toulon powerhouse is a destructive ball carrier, a huge tackler, deceptively quick, and good at the breakdown.
Capped 37 times since his debut in 2012, he gives South Africa lots of go forward, physicality and leadership, with the latter quality missing for the most part recently in South Africa’s ranks.
7. François Louw:
A mainstay of the South African pack, the versatile Bath flanker can play at both six and seven. Excellent at the breakdown, physical in defence, a strong ball carrier with great off-loading skills, Louw is one of the best flankers in the world.
One of the pluses in a disappointing Rugby Championship campaign for South Africa thus far, 50 cap Louw’s impressive work at the breakdown, his tireless work in the loose, as well as his off-loading skills have once again showed his importance to the Springbok pack.
6. Jaco Kriel:
The all-action flanker enjoyed an outstanding Super 18 campaign with his excellent link-up play, his fantastic work at the breakdown and his impressive handling skills, helping the Lions to a first ever Super Rugby final.
Five-times capped Kriel, who made his debut against Ireland in the summer, would offer a really dynamic edge to a powerful South African back row.
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit:
The athletic Stormers lock, has been outstanding for South Africa this summer.
Excellent in the lineout and tireless in the loose, the 24 year-old has been the stand-out forward in their summer series against Ireland and their current Rugby Championship campaign.
Capped 15 times, the 6ft 7in, 18st 13lbs star has dethroned Lood De Jager from the starting lineup and has notched up 3 tries, a testimony to his impressive support play.
4. Eben Etzebeth:
Despite not hitting the heady heights of previous years thus far, the rugged 24 year-old remains a key man in the South African pack.
A powerful ball carrier and fierce tackler, the 6ft 8in, 18st 6lbs behemoth is also excellent in the line and offers lots of grunt in the scrum.
3. Vincent Koch:
An accomplished scrummager who contributes in the loose, the five-times capped Saracens prop is a quality operator.
Since making his debut against the All Blacks last summer, the former Stormers front rower has picked up five caps, and offers his team a solid foundation up front.
2. Malcolm Marx:
The 22 year-old Lions hooker made his debut off the bench against the All Blacks last Saturday and is a huge talent.
Tall for a hooker at 6ft 2in and tipping the scales at 18st 10lbs, the former back rower is a quality scrummager, an explosive ball carrier, an accurate lineout thrower who also has impressive handling skills.
With Tendai Mtawarira now past his best and with the 2019 World Cup only three years away, Allister Coetzee needs to build for the future with the five times capped Kitshoff most certainly fitting the bill.
An attacking scrummager with the ability to disrupt opposition ball as well as being decent in the loose, the 24 year-old 18st 13lb Bordeaux loosehead has a big future at international level.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena
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