South Africa
Shirt badge/Association crest
UnionSA Rugby
Head coachRassie Erasmus
CaptainSiya Kolisi
Most capsVictor Matfield (127)
Top scorerPercy Montgomery (893)
Top try scorerBryan Habana (67)
Home stadiumVarious
First colours
Second colours
Third colours
World Rugby ranking
Current1 (as of 16 October 2023)
Highest1 (2007–2008; 2009, 2019–2021, 2022, 2023–2024)
Lowest7 (2017; 2018)
First international
South Africa 0–4 British Isles
(Cape Town, South Africa; 30 July 1891)
Biggest win
South Africa 134–3 Uruguay 
(East London, South Africa; 11 June 2005)
Biggest defeat
 New Zealand 57–0 South Africa
(Auckland, New Zealand; 16 September 2017)
World Cup
Appearances8 (First in 1995)
Best resultChampions (1995, 2007, 2019, 2023)
Tri Nations/Rugby Championship
Best resultChampions (1998, 2004, 2009, 2019)

The South Africa national rugby union team, commonly known as the Springboks (colloquially the Boks, Bokke or Amabhokobhoko),[1] is the country's national team governed by the South African Rugby Union. The Springboks play in green and gold jerseys with white shorts, and their emblem is the Springbok, a native antelope and the national animal of South Africa. The team has represented South African Rugby Union in international rugby union since 30 July 1891, when they played their first test match against a British Isles touring team. Currently, the Springboks are the top-ranked rugby team in the world and reigning World Champions, having won the World Cup a record four times (1995, 2007, 2019 and 2023). South Africa have won half of the Rugby World Cups they have participated in and are also the second nation to win the World Cup consecutively (2019 and 2023).

The team made its World Cup debut in 1995, when the newly democratic South Africa hosted the tournament. Although South Africa was instrumental in creating the Rugby World Cup competition, the Springboks could not compete in the first two World Cups in 1987 and 1991 due to international anti-apartheid sporting boycotts. The Springboks' victory over the All Blacks 15–12 in the 1995 final, which is now remembered as one of the greatest moments in South Africa's sporting history, and a pivotal moment in the post-apartheid nation-building process. This cast a new light on South Africa, where people of all colour united as one nation to watch their team play.

South Africa regained the world champions title 12 years later by defeating England 15–6 in the 2007 final. Following their 2007 World Cup victory, the Springboks ascended to first place in the IRB World Rankings, a position they held until July of the following year when New Zealand reclaimed the top spot. The team was named 2008 World Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards.[2] South Africa then won their third World Cup title, defeating England 32–12 in the 2019 final, and were named 2020 World Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards for the second time. They retained their world champions title in 2023.

The Springboks also compete in the annual Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri-Nations), along with their Southern Hemisphere counterparts Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. They have won the Championship four times in 24 competitions and are the only team to have won a version of the competition and the Rugby World Cup in the same year.

Rugby union is a highly popular sport in South Africa, often attracting the country's most talented athletes. For nearly a century, South Africans have rallied behind the Springboks, the team's success has transcended the sport, becoming a symbol of national pride recognized even by those who don't follow rugby. Sixteen former Springboks and influential South Africans have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. The Springboks are also the only team to have won half of the World Cups they have competed in.

Many teams have suffered their biggest record defeats to the Springboks, including Australia, Italy, Scotland, Uruguay, Wales and New Zealand.



First internationals: 1891–1913

The South Africa team that played the second test against the British Isles in 1891

The first British Isles tour took place in 1891, at Diocesan College.[3] These were the first representative games played by South African sides. The tourists won all twenty matches they played, conceding only one point.[4][5] The British Isles' success continued on their tour of 1896, winning three out of four tests against South Africa. South Africa's play greatly improved from 1891, and their first test win in the final game was a pointer to the future.[6][7] In 1903 the British Isles lost a series for the first time in South Africa, drawing the opening two tests before losing the last 8–0.[8][9] Rugby was given a huge boost by the early Lions tours, which created great interest in the South African press.[10] South Africa would not lose another series—home or away—until 1956.[11]

The 1906 Springboks team

The first South African team to tour the British Isles and France occurred during 1906–07. The team played tests against all four Home Nations. England managed a draw, but Scotland was the only one of the Home unions to gain a victory.[12] The trip instilled a sense of national pride among South Africans.[11][13] The South Africans played an unofficial match against a 'France' team while the official French team were in England; the Springboks won 55–6.[14][15] It was during this tour that the nickname Springboks was first used.[16][17][18]

The 1910 British Isles tour of South Africa was the first to include representatives from all four Home unions. The tourists won just one of their three tests.[19] The Boks' second European tour took place in 1912–13. They beat the four Home nations to earn their first Grand Slam, and also defeated France.[11][20]

Inter war

The Springboks team that faced New Zealand in 1921

By the first World War, New Zealand and South Africa had established themselves as rugby's two greatest powers.[21][22] A Springbok tour to New Zealand and Australia in 1921 was billed as "The World Championship of Rugby".[23] The All Blacks won the first Test 13–5,[24] The Springboks recovered to win the second Test 9–5,[24] and the final Test was drawn 0–0, resulting in a series draw.[25]

The 1924 British Lions team lost three of the four Tests to the Springboks, drawing the other.[26][27] This was the first side to pick up the name Lions, apparently picked up from the Lions embroidered on their ties.[28][29] The All Blacks first toured South Africa in 1928, and again the Test series finished level. The Springboks won the first Test 17–0 to inflict the All Blacks' heaviest defeat since 1893.[30][31] The All Blacks rebounded to win the second Test 7–6. After a Springbok win in the third Test, the All Blacks won 13–5 to draw the series.[32]

Despite winning South Africa's second Grand Slam, the Springbok tourists of 1931–32 were an unloved team, due to their tactics of kicking for territory.[33][34] It was successful however, winning against England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as defeating all their Welsh opponents for the first time.[35]

The complete squad that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1937

In 1933, Australia toured South Africa, with the Springboks winning the series 3–2.

In 1937 South Africa toured New Zealand and Australia and their 2–1 series win prompted them to be called "the best team to ever leave New Zealand".[36][37]

The British Isles toured South Africa again in 1938, winning the majority of their tour matches. The Springboks secured easy victories in the first two tests. However, the Lions bounced back to record a win in the third test, for the first Lions win on South Africa soil since 1910.[38]

Post-war era


Danie Craven was appointed coach in 1949, and started his coaching career winning ten matches in a row, including a 4–0 whitewash of New Zealand on their 1949 tour to South Africa.[39]

The 1951–52 team that toured Europe was considered amongst the finest Springbok sides to tour.[20] The team won the Grand Slam as well as defeating France. Hennie Muller captained the side. The South African highlight of the tour was a 44–0 defeat of Scotland.[33][40] The team finished with only one loss, to London Counties, from 31 matches.[41]

In 1953, Australia toured South Africa for the second time and although they lost the series, they defeated South Africa 18–14 in the second test. The 1955 British Lions tour to South Africa four-test series ended in a draw.

In 1956, Springboks toured Australasia the All Blacks won its first series over the Springboks, in "the most bitterly fought series in history."[42][43]

When France toured South Africa in 1958 they were not expected to compete.[44] France exceeded expectations and drew 3–3.[45] The French then secured a Test series victory with a 9–5 victory.[46]

Anti-apartheid protests: 1960s–1970s


In 1960, international criticism of apartheid grew in the wake of The Wind of Change speech and the Sharpeville massacre.[47] The Springboks increasingly became the target of international protest. The All Blacks toured South Africa in 1960, despite a 150,000 signature petition opposing it.[48] The Springboks avenged their 1956 series defeat by winning the four-match test series 2–1 with one draw.[43][49] that same year the Springboks toured Europe, and they defeated all four Home unions for their fourth Grand Slam.

The 1962 British Lions tour to South Africa lost three of the four tests, drawing the other. In 1963 the touring Wallabies beat the Springboks in consecutive tests, the first team to do so since the 1896 British team.[50] In 1964, in Wales' first overseas tour they played one test match against South Africa, losing 3–24, their biggest defeat in 40 years.[51][52][53]

South Africa had a poor year in 1965, losing matches in a tour of Ireland and Scotland, and in a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The planned 1967 tour by the All Blacks was cancelled by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union after the South African government refused to allow Maori players.[54] In 1968 the Lions toured and lost three Tests and drew one.

Next year in the 1969–70 Springbok tour to the UK and Ireland the Springboks lost test matches against England and Scotland, and drew against Ireland and Wales. Throughout the tour however, large anti-apartheid demonstrations meant that several matches had to be played behind barbed wire fences.

In 1970 the All Blacks toured South Africa once again—after the South African government agreed to treat Maoris in the team and Maori spectators as 'honorary whites'.[55][56] The Springboks won the test series 3–1.

In the Springbok tour of Australia in 1971, the Springboks won all three tests. As in Britain three years before, however, massive anti-apartheid demonstrations greeted the team, and they had to be transported by the Royal Australian Air Force after the trade unions refused to service planes or trains transporting them. A planned tour of New Zealand for 1973 was blocked by New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk on the grounds of public safety.[57]

The Lions team that toured South Africa in 1974 triumphed 3–0 (with one drawn) in the test series. A key feature was the Lions' infamous '99 call'. Lions management had decided that the Springboks dominated their opponents with physical aggression, so decided "to get their retaliation in first". At the call of '99' each Lions player would attack their nearest rival player. The "battle of Boet Erasmus Stadium" was one of the most violent matches in rugby history.[58]

Sporting isolation: 1970s–1980s


The 1976 All Blacks tour of South Africa went ahead, and the Springboks won by three Tests to one, but coming shortly after the Soweto riots the tour attracted international condemnation. Twenty-eight countries boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics in protest, and in 1977 the Gleneagles Agreement discouraged any Commonwealth sporting contact with South Africa. In response to the growing pressure, the segregated South African rugby unions merged in 1977. A planned 1979 Springbok tour of France was blocked by the French government.

The Lions toured South Africa in 1980, losing the first three tests before winning the last one.

The 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand went ahead in defiance of the Gleneagles Agreement. South Africa lost the series 1–2. The tour and the massive civil disruption in New Zealand had ramifications far beyond rugby. In 1981, Errol Tobias became the first non-white South African to represent his country when he took the field against Ireland.[59] South Africa sought to counteract its sporting isolation by inviting the South American Jaguars to tour. The team contained mainly Argentinian players. Eight matches were played between the two teams in the early 1980s—all awarded Test status. In 1984, England toured losing both test matches; of the players selected, only Ralph Knibbs of Bristol refused to tour for political reasons.

Due to the isolation from apartheid, from 1985 to 1991, South Africa did not play a single test match against an established country, although South Africa did play some matches against makeshift teams.[60] In 1985, a planned All Black tour of South Africa was stopped by the New Zealand High Court. A rebel tour took place the next year by a team known as the Cavaliers, which consisted of all but two of the original squad.[61] The Springboks won the series 3–1. In 1989, a World XV sanctioned by the International Rugby Board went on a mini-tour of South Africa; all traditional rugby nations bar New Zealand supplied players to the team. South Africa was not permitted by the International Rugby Board to compete in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, nor in the following 1991 Rugby World Cup.

Rainbow nation and 1995 World Cup


Apartheid was abolished during 1990–91, and the Springboks were readmitted to international rugby in 1992. They struggled to return to their pre-isolation standards in their first games after readmission. During the 1992 All Blacks tour, the first to South Africa since 1976, the Springboks were defeated 24–27 by New Zealand, and suffered a 3–26 loss to Australia the following month.

South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup, with a surge of support for the Springboks among the white and black communities behind the slogan "one team, one country."[62] This was the first major international sports event to be held in the Rainbow Nation. By the time they hosted the 1995 World Cup, the Springboks, coached by Kitch Christie, were seeded ninth. They won their pool by defeating Australia, Romania, and Canada. Wins in the quarter-final against Western Samoa (42–14) and in the semi-final against France (19–15) sent the Springboks to the final. South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final against the All Blacks 15–12 in extra-time.[63][64][65][66][67] President Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok shirt, presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner. The gesture was widely seen as a major step towards the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.[68]

A series of crises followed in 1995 through 1997. Christie resigned in 1996 due to leukaemia. South Africa struggled in the new Tri-Nations competition, the All Blacks won a test series in South Africa for the first time in 1996,[69] and the Lions won their 1997 South African tour test series two games to one. Coach Andre Markgraaff was fired in 1997 due to a racist comment he made.[70] The team suffered successive defeats in the Lions 1997 tour and the 1997 Tri Nations Series.

In 1997, coach Nick Mallett coached South Africa's unbeaten 1997 tour of Europe, and in 1998 the Boks tied the then-existing record for longest test winning streak, winning 17 consecutive tests, including the 1998 Tri-Nations.[71] At the 1999 Rugby World Cup the Springboks reached the semi-finals of the competition, where they lost to eventual champions Australia.[72]

Bobby Skinstad in June 2007

During the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the Springboks lost by record margins to England (3–53), France, Scotland and New Zealand.[73][74] At the 2003 Rugby World Cup, they were eliminated in the quarter-final round – their worst showing to date.

Following wins during the June 2004 tours, the Boks won the 2004 Tri Nations Series. The Springboks won the 2004 IRB International Team of the Year award. The Springboks finished second in the 2005 Tri-Nations.

Percy Montgomery running the ball for the Springboks against Samoa in 2007

The 2006 Springboks lost to France, ending their long undefeated home record. A poor 2006 Tri Nations Series included two losses to the Wallabies. Coach Jake White told the press in July 2006 that he had been unable to pick some white players for his squad "because of transformation"—a reference to the ANC government's policies to redress racial imbalances in sport.[75]

2007 Rugby World Cup victory

The Springboks before their 2007 World Cup match against Samoa

At the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, the Springboks won their pool. The Springboks then defeated Fiji 37–20 in the quarter-finals, and Argentina 37–13 in the semi-finals. In the final they prevailed 15–6 over England to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time.

In January 2008, Peter de Villiers was appointed as the first non-white coach of the Springboks. De Villiers's first squad included ten of colour. The team finishes last in the Tri Nations, but notched several wins during their 2008 end of year tour.

The 2009 season was more successful. The Boks earned a 2–1 series win over the Lions, and then won the 2009 Tri Nations Series. However, during the November tests they lost their top spot in the IRB rankings with losses to France and Ireland. Nonetheless, the Boks were named IRB International Team of the Year.

The Boks' June 2010 test campaign included a win over France (their first victory over the French since 2005).[76] However, the Boks performed poorly in the 2010 Tri Nations campaign, sliding to third in the world rankings.[77] In the 2011 Tri Nations the Boks rested a number of players in preparation for the upcoming World Cup. At the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks topped their group before falling to Australia 9–11 in the quarter-finals.

2018–present: Erasmus/Kolisi era and Rugby World Cup success


Following the sacking of Allister Coetzee in February 2018, Rassie Erasmus was named head coach of the national team, alongside his duties as Director of Rugby at SA Rugby, on 1 March 2018 and immediately decided to appoint Siya Kolisi as the new Springbok captain, a landmark decision.[78]

In his first match in charge, Erasmus awarded thirteen new players their first test cap, in a one-off match in Washington, D.C. in a 22–20 loss to Wales. A week later, he secured his first win, a 42–39 victory over England, during their three-test series. The series title was clinched in the second test, with the Springboks winning 23–12, to secure a series victory. However, South Africa were unable to gain the clean-sweep, after losing the third test, 25–10. During the 2018 Rugby Championship, Erasmus led the Springboks to second, their best placing since 2014. The 2018 Championship saw South Africa win three games, including a thrilling 36–34 victory over New Zealand in Wellington, South Africa's first win in New Zealand since 2009. Erasmus later revealed that had the Springboks lost that match, he would have resigned:

"We [had recently] lost to Australia and Argentina, and if we didn't win in Wellington I would have resigned... I have never lost three games in a row as a coach and if I did that I don't deserve to be a Springbok coach. We played New Zealand in Wellington and that was important, as if we lost it I wouldn't be here."[79]

South Africa came within moments of reclaiming the Freedom Cup in the final round, but an All Black try in the dying moments of the game helped New Zealand snatch victory in 32–30 win in Pretoria and retain the cup.

2019 Rugby World Cup


The Springboks won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan after defeating England 32–12 in the final. It was the first time that a Black South African rugby captain got to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, as well as the first time that a team won a final with a defeat in pool stages, the captain being Siya Kolisi who presented South African president Cyril Ramaphosa the number 6 jersey to commemorate Nelson Mandela, who wore the same numbered jersey during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

The final match between South Africa and England served as a rematch between the two in reference to the 2007 Rugby World Cup final. This marks the third time South Africa has won the World Cup which ties the team with the All Blacks for most Rugby World Cup wins.

COVID-19 pandemic


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Springboks, were affected by the cancellation and postponement of several matches, as well as concerns over player welfare and safety. However, the Springboks were able to continue playing international rugby through strict COVID-19 protocols.

In August 2020, South Africa withdrew from the Rugby Championship due to concerns over player welfare and COVID-19 restrictions. The tournament proceeded without the Springboks, who were the defending champions.

In July 2021, South Africa made their return to international rugby after a year-long absence due to the pandemic.

2023 Rugby World Cup


The Springboks faced a tough pool that included the likes of Ireland and Scotland. They suffered a narrow defeat to Ireland. However, they bounced back with convincing victories in the remaining pool matches.

The Bomb Squad: The Springboks' dominance in the scrums became a defining feature of their knock-out stage success. The introduction of the "Bomb Squad" – a group of fresh front-row substitutes – in the later stages of matches proved to be a game-changer.

Throughout the tournament, the Springboks displayed a resolute defensive performance. They conceded the fewest penalties of any team and their tackling technique was exceptional. This defensive solidity provided a crucial foundation for their success.

The Springboks secured three dramatic 1-point victories during the 2023 Rugby World Cup:

Quarter Final vs France: In a nail-biting encounter against the host nation, the Springboks fought tenaciously throughout the match. The score remained close, but their determination paid off as they emerged victorious with a final score of 29–28.

Semi Final vs England: Another tense affair, this game tested the Springboks' grit. They battled fiercely against England, with the score seesawing throughout. Displaying nerves of steel, the Springboks clinched the win with a last-minute penalty, ending the game at 16–15.

Final vs New Zealand: A thrilling 80 minutes that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The All Blacks were reduced to 14 men in the first half after captain Sam Cane was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Despite their numerical advantage, the Springboks faced strong defense from New Zealand. However, they managed to secure a narrow victory, with the final score at 12–11.

The 2023 Springboks were a team that embodied the spirit of unity. Their diverse squad, with players from various backgrounds and cultures, came together under the banner of "Together in One Nation, One Team."

The Springboks were crowned Rugby World Cup champions for the fourth time, making them the first nation to win 4 titles and their second in a row. Having only played 8 tournaments, this has given South Africa a 50% win rate at World Cups.

Crest, colours and jersey


Team name and emblem

The first springbok logo was introduced in 1906; this emblem has been regarded as representing apartheid's exclusion politics

Paul Roos's team first introduced the Springbok emblem during their 1906–07 tour of Britain to prevent the British press from inventing their own name for the team. At that time, the emblem promoted unity among white English and Afrikaans-speaking players following the two Anglo-Boer Wars of the late 19th century.[80] Although the Springbok was briefly adopted by the first colored national rugby team in 1939 and by their first black counterparts in 1950, it soon became exclusively associated with segregated sporting codes.

From 1906 onwards, South African rugby officials and the national team were historically linked with racism. The Springbok emblem symbolized the exclusion of non-white players under apartheid, representing apartheid itself.[81] Initially, the first Springboks refused to play against a Devon side that included Jimmy Peters, the first black player to represent England.[82] Notable figures like Danie Craven, a legendary official, national coach, and Springbok scrumhalf, reluctantly complied with government demands to have Māori players excluded from the visiting All Black teams.[83] Craven also asserted that the Springbok was intrinsically tied to the white identity of the national rugby team.[81]

Since 1992, the protea has been displayed on team jerseys (alongside the springbok) and used as the official emblem on blazers and caps

Since the end of apartheid, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has sought to replace the Springbok emblem with a neutral symbol representing a break from the past, the King Protea, South Africa's national flower, was chosen for this purpose, leading to the national cricket team being named the Proteas for example. A similar change was envisioned for the national rugby team. Consequently, from 1992, the national rugby team jersey featured a King Protea alongside the Springbok.

As portrayed in the film Invictus, pressure to replace the Springbok emblem intensified in 1994, just before the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. However, Nelson Mandela, a devoted fan of the Springbok rugby team, intervened, leading the ANC's executive to reappropriate the emblem instead of abolishing it. After the national team won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, black rugby pioneer Dan Qeqe stated, "The Springboks play for all of us."[80]

In March 2004, the South African Sports Commission ratified a decision for the Protea to be the official rugby emblem on blazers and caps, allowing the Springbok to remain on the team jersey and the traditional Springbok colours.[84] In November 2007, the ANC's special conference in Polokwane reiterated the need for a single symbol for all sporting codes. Critics like Qondisa Ngwenya predicted a loss of revenue from abandoning the Springbok emblem,[80] while others like Cheeky Watson advocated for an alternative, unifying symbol.[85]

Furthermore, South African Rugby (SARU) has not made any official moves to change the emblem. Instead, efforts have been made to ensure that the emblem represents unity and inclusivity.



South Africa plays in green jerseys with a gold collar and trim, white shorts and green socks. The jersey is embroidered with the SA Rugby logo on the wearer's left chest and the springbok logo on the right chest.

The first shirt worn by South Africa was navy blue during their Tests against the British Isles on the Lions tour of 1891.[86]

The green jersey was first adopted when the British Isles toured South Africa in 1903. After playing the first two Tests in white shirts, South Africa wore a green jersey (supplied by the Diocesan College rugby team) for the first time in their final Test at Newlands.[87]

On their first tour to Great Britain and Ireland in 1906–07 South Africa wore a green jersey with a white collar, blue shorts, and blue socks, taken from the Diocesan College.

When Australia first toured South Africa in 1933, the visitors wore sky blue jerseys to avoid confusion, as both teams wore dark green jerseys at the time. In 1953, when Australia toured again, the Springboks wore white jerseys for the test matches. In 1961, Australia changed their jersey to gold to avoid further colour clashes.[88]

Traditionally, South Africa's away uniform consisted of a white shirt, usually with a gold collar, black shorts, and socks, as seen in the 1981 Test against Ireland.

During the match against England at Twickenham in 2002, South Africa became the first team to sport player names on the back of the jerseys.[89][90][91]

In 2006, against Ireland in Dublin, a replica of the first jersey was worn to mark the centenary of the Springbok rugby team.[92]

In December 2008, the SARU decided to place the protea on the left side of the Boks' jersey, in line with other South African national teams, and move the springbok to the right side of the jersey.[93] The new jersey was worn for the first time during the British & Irish Lions' 2009 tour of South Africa.[94]

For the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the springbok was moved from the front of the jersey to the right sleeve while the Protea remained on the front. This change was due to World Cup regulations stating that only the IRB logo and the main team logo could appear on the front of the shirt. Several South African rugby fans voiced their disappointment and anger at the reveal of the 2015 shirt due to the springbok not being on the front of the shirt.[95]

In 2017, the Springboks wore a red change jersey in Argentina as part of an Asics promotion where the Springboks and Blitzboks wore jerseys in all the colours of the South African flag during the course of the season—the main side wore green, white, and red shirts, while the sevens team sported gold, blue and black uniforms.

Sponsors on kit


American company Nike is the kit provider for all the South Africa rugby teams from July 2023, through a six-year contract signed with the SARU.[96] South Africa's shirt sponsor is local mobile phone provider MTN Group. Additional uniform sponsors are FNB on the back above the numbers, and Betway, FlySafair, Dell, and Switch Energy Drink rotating on the rear hems of the shorts.

2002 South Africa jersey, made by Nike, with springbok emblem on the left side
Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1970–1991 Maxmore none*
1992–1996 Cotton Traders Lion Lager
1996–1999 Nike No shirt sponsor
2000–2003 Castle Lager*
2004 mid-year internationals None
2004 Tri-Nations Canterbury
December 2004 – 2010 SASOL
2011–2013 Absa
2014–2015 Asics
2016 mid-year internationals Blue Label Telecoms
2017–2023 MTN Group
2023–present Nike

* During the 1986 New Zealand Cavaliers tour, the Springboks had the Toyota logo on the opposite side of the Springbok, making it the first time a sponsor logo appeared in a Springbok jersey.[97]

* In a 2001 autumn international against France in Saint-Denis, the logo on their kit was replaced by Charles (which is an allusion to Charles Glass, the founder of Castle Brewery) because of the Evin law, which prohibits alcohol companies from advertising during sports events in France.

Home grounds


The Springboks do not use a single stadium as their home, but they play out of a number of venues throughout South Africa.

The first South African international took place in 1891 at Port Elizabeth's Crusader Grounds. The playing field, which is shared with the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, is also known as St George's Park Cricket Ground.[98]

Main stadiums

Venue City Capacity
Ellis Park Stadium Johannesburg 62,500
Loftus Versfeld Stadium Pretoria 51,700
Kings Park Stadium Durban 52,000
Free State Stadium Bloemfontein 46,000
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Gqeberha 46,000
Cape Town Stadium Cape Town 55,000

The 60,000 seat Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg was the main venue for the 1995 World Cup,[99] where the Springboks defeated the All Blacks in the final. Ellis Park was built in 1928, and in 1955 hosted a record 100,000 people in a Test between South Africa and the British & Irish Lions.[99]

The Springboks are said to have a notable advantage over touring sides when playing at high altitude on the Highveld.[100] Games at Ellis Park, Loftus Versfeld, or Vodacom Park are said to present physical problems,[101][102] and to influence a match in a number of other ways, such as the ball travelling further when kicked.[103] Experts disagree on whether touring team's traditionally poor performances at altitude are more due to a state of mind rather than an actual physical challenge.[102]

Other stadiums

Venue City Capacity
FNB Stadium Johannesburg 94,700
Newlands Stadium (**Retired) Cape Town 51,900
Boet Erasmus Stadium (**Retired) Port Elizabeth 33,852
Mbombela Stadium Nelspruit 43,500[104]
Buffalo City Stadium East London 16,000
Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace Phokeng 44,500
Puma Stadium eMalahleni 20,000

The Springboks played their first test match at FNB Stadium also known as Soccer City Stadium on 21 August 2010, a Tri Nations match against New Zealand.[105]



Individual records

Percy Montgomery holds the South African record for most test points

South Africa's most capped player is Victor Matfield with 127 caps. The Lock played his last test match on the 30th of October 2015 against Argentina. [106] The most-capped back is Bryan Habana. Percy Montgomery holds the South African record for Test points with 893, which at the time of his international retirement placed him sixth on the all-time list of Test point scorers (he now stands twelfth).[107]

John Smit was the world's most-capped captain, having captained South Africa in 83 of his 111 Tests, but has since been overtaken.[108][109] Smit also played a record 46 consecutive matches for South Africa.

The record try scorer is Bryan Habana with 67 tries.(as of 14 February 2018)[110]

As of 8 October 2019, Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick in World Cup history.

Longest Winning Streak


The South African Springboks' longest winning streak is 17 consecutive Test victories, which they achieved between August 1997 and December 1998. This record was set under coach Nick Mallett and captain Gary Teichmann, and during this time the Springboks scored more than 50 points five times and beat Wales 96-13. They also defeated France, Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and Scotland on multiple occasions.[111]


Top 20 as of 15 July 2024[112]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  South Africa 093.11
2 Steady  Ireland 092.12
3 Steady  New Zealand 090.37
4 Steady  France 086.96
5 Steady  England 085.40
6 Steady  Scotland 082.82
7 Steady  Argentina 081.64
8 Increase1  Italy 078.98
9 Decrease1  Australia 078.70
10 Steady  Fiji 077.44
11 Steady  Wales 076.04
12 Increase2  Georgia 074.36
13 Steady  Samoa 073.65
14 Decrease2  Japan 072.63
15 Increase1  Portugal 070.61
16 Decrease1  Tonga 070.58
17 Steady  Uruguay 067.39
18 Steady  United States 066.01
19 Steady  Spain 064.37
20 Steady  Romania 062.62
21 Increase1  Canada 061.87
22 Decrease1  Chile 061.39
23 Steady  Namibia 060.23
24 Steady  Hong Kong 059.52
25 Steady  Russia 058.06
26 Steady   Switzerland 057.44
27 Steady  Netherlands 057.29
28 Steady  Belgium 055.63
29 Steady  Brazil 055.37
30 Steady  Zimbabwe 052.43
* Change from the previous week
South Africa's historical rankings
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on
See or edit source data.
Source: World Rugby[112]
Graph updated to 15 July 2024
World Rugby Ranking Leaders
South Africa national rugby union teamIreland national rugby union teamFrance national rugby union teamSouth Africa national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamSouth Africa national rugby union teamEngland national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamIreland national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamWales national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamSouth Africa national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamSouth Africa national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamSouth Africa national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamEngland national rugby union teamNew Zealand national rugby union teamEngland national rugby union team

South Africa is one of the most successful rugby union teams in history. When the ranking system was first introduced in October 2003, South Africa were ranked sixth. Their ranking fluctuated until their victory in the 2007 Rugby World Cup briefly sent them to the summit of the rankings.

Overall, the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks have held the number 1 ranking in the world rankings since its introduction in October 2003 for just over 93% of the time (with the New Zealand All Blacks holding the top spot for just over 80% of the time and the South African Springboks holding the top spot for just over 13% of that time). The remaining time at the top of the world rankings are shared between the leading Northern Hemisphere teams, England (the only Northern Hemisphere team to win a World Cup title in 2003), Wales, France and Ireland.

The South African Springboks are the only team to have won the Rugby World Cup a record breaking four times, having won it in: 1995, 2007, 2019 and 2023.[113] The New Zealand All Blacks have won the title in 1987, 2011 and 2015. South African Springboks currently have an overall winning % against all nations (including the British and Irish Lions) except for the New Zealand All Blacks.

Games played




Rugby Championship


The Springboks only yearly tournament is The Rugby Championship (formerly Tri-Nations), involving Australia and New Zealand since 1996, with Argentina joining the competition in 2012. The Springboks have won the tournament four times (1998, 2004, 2009, 2019). South Africa also participates in the Mandela Challenge Plate with Australia, and the Freedom Cup with New Zealand as part of the Rugby Championship.

Tri Nations (1996–2011; 2020)
Nation Matches Points Bonus
 New Zealand 76 52 0 24 2,054 1,449 +605 35 243 11
 Australia 76 30 3 43 1,591 1,817 −226 34 160 3
 South Africa 72 28 1 43 1,480 1,831 −351 24 138 3
 Argentina 4 1 2 1 56 84 –28 0 8 0
Source: – Tri-Nations, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.

Rugby Championship (since 2012)
Nation Matches Points Bonus
 New Zealand 57 48 2 7 1,979 1,059 +920 36 233 9
 South Africa 57 28 4 25 1,449 1,289 +160 26 146 1
 Australia 57 25 3 29 1,304 1,553 −249 13 126 1
 Argentina 57 8 1 48 1,036 1,868 −832 12 46 0
Updated: 29 July 2023
Source: – TRC, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.
All-time Tri Nations and Rugby Championship Table (since 1996)
Nation Matches Points Bonus
 New Zealand 133 100 2 31 4,033 2,508 +1,525 71 476 20
 Australia 133 55 6 72 2,895 3,370 –475 47 286 4
 South Africa 129 56 5 68 2,929 3,120 –191 51 284 4
 Argentina 61 9 3 49 1,092 1,952 –860 12 54 0
Updated: 29 July 2023
Bonus points given by T – 4W − 2D, for T table points, W games won and D games drawn.

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup record
Year Round Pld W D L PF PA Squad Head coach
New Zealand Australia 1987 Barred from competing at tournament due to international sporting boycott during Apartheid
England France Ireland Scotland Wales 1991
South Africa 1995 Champions 6 6 0 0 144 67 Squad K. Christie
Wales 1999 Third Place 6 5 0 1 219 101 Squad N. Mallett
Australia 2003 Quarter-finals 5 3 0 2 193 89 Squad R. Straeuli
France 2007 Champions 7 7 0 0 278 86 Squad J. White
New Zealand 2011 Quarter-finals 5 4 0 1 175 35 Squad P. de Villiers
England 2015 Third Place 7 5 0 2 241 108 Squad H. Meyer
Japan 2019 Champions 7 6 0 1 262 67 Squad R. Erasmus
France 2023 Champions 7 6 0 1 208 88 Squad J. Nienaber
Australia 2027 To be determined
United States 2031
Total Champions (4) 50 42 0 8 1720 641
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place Home venue

The Springboks did not participate in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups because of the sporting boycott that apartheid brought against them.

South Africa's introduction to the event was as hosts. They defeated the defending Champions Australia 27–18 in the opening match, and went on to defeat the All Blacks 15–12 after extra time in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, with a drop goal from 40 metres by Joel Stransky.[114]

In 1999 South Africa experienced their first World Cup loss when they were defeated 21–27 by Australia in their semi-final, they went on to defeat the All Blacks 22–18 in the Third-Fourth play-off match.[115]

The worst ever South African performance at a World Cup was in 2003 when they lost a pool game to England, and then were knocked out of the tournament by the All Blacks in their quarter-final.[116]

In 2007 the Springboks defeated Fiji in the quarter-finals and Argentina in the semi-finals. They then defeated England in the Grand Final 15–6 to win the tournament for a second time.

In 2011 the Springboks were defeated by Australia 9–11 in the quarter-finals after winning all four of their pool games.

In the 2015 World Cup, South Africa suffered a 32–34 loss to Japan in their first pool match on 19 September, and it has been regarded as one of the biggest upsets in Rugby Union history. They made it to the semi-finals but were eventually defeated by the All Blacks 20–18.

In the 2019 RWC, the Springboks lost their first pool match against the All Blacks 23–13, and won the rest of their pool matches to advance to the quarter-finals, where they beat Japan 26–3, beat Wales 19–16 in the semi-finals and beat England 32–12 in the Grand Final to be crowned World Champions. South Africa became the 2nd country ever to win the Rugby World Cup 3 times.

The Springboks won the 2023 Rugby World Cup, defeating New Zealand 12-11 in the final at the Stade de France in Paris on October 28, 2023. It was South Africa's fourth Rugby World Cup title, and their second consecutive, having also won in 2019.

Series played (Home and Away)


Traditionally, most of the Test Matches against other countries happened during Tours/Series. The first team to visit South Africa were the British Lions in 1891 and the first Springbok overseas tour was arranged in 1906–07 to Europe.

Teams Series Played Won
 England 7 4 0 3 1984; (1994); (2000); (2006); 2007; 2012; 2018
 Wales 6 6 0 0 1964; 1995; 2002; 2008; 2014; 2022
 Scotland 2 2 0 0 2003; 2006
 Ireland 5 4 0 1 1981; 1998; 2004; 2016; (2024)
 France 13 9 2 2 1958; 1967; 1968; 1971; 1974; 1975; (1992); 1993; 1996; 1997; (2001); 2005; 2017
British Lions 14 9 4 1 1891; 1896; 1903; 1910; 1924; 1938; (1955); 1962; 1968; 1974; 1980; 1997; 2009; 2021
 Australia 10 7 2 1 1933; 1937; 1953; 1956; 1961; (1963); 1965; 1969; 1971; 1993
 Argentina 6 6 0 0 1993; 1994; 1996; 2000; 2002; 2003
 New Zealand 12 5 5 2 (1921); (1928); 1937; 1949; 1956; 1960; 1965; 1970; 1976; 1981; 1994; 1996
New Zealand Cavaliers 1 1 0 0 1986
South American Jaguars 4 3 0 1 1980;1980;(1982);1984
Overall 79 56 13 10 77.23%

Bold = Series Win; Brackets() = Series Drawn; Plain Text = Series Lost



Head to Head Results


Below is the Test Matches played by South Africa up until 15 July 2024. Only fixtures recognised as Test Matches by the South African Rugby Union are listed.[117][118]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win% For Aga Diff
 Argentina 36 32 3 1 88.89% 1239 691 +548
 Australia 93 50 40 3 53.76% 1860 1653 +207
 British & Irish Lions 49 25 18 6 51.02% 636 554 +82
 Canada 3 3 0 0 100.00% 137 25 +112
 England 46 28 16 2 60.87% 988 784 +204
 Fiji 3 3 0 0 100.00% 129 41 +88
 France 46 28 12 6 60.87% 994 720 +274
 Georgia 2 2 0 0 100.00% 86 28 +58
 Ireland 30 19 10 1 63.33% 581 457 +124
 Italy 16 15 1 0 93.75% 764 195 +569
 Japan 3 2 1 0 66.67% 99 44 +55
 Namibia 3 3 0 0 100.00% 249 16 +233
 New Zealand 106 40 62 4 37.74% 1740 2196 -456
 New Zealand Cavaliers ± 4 3 1 0 75.00% 96 62 +34
Pacific Islanders 1 1 0 0 100.00% 38 24 +14
 Romania 2 2 0 0 100.00% 97 8 +89
 Samoa 9 9 0 0 100.00% 431 99 +332
 Scotland 29 24 5 0 82.76% 760 324 +436
South American Jaguars 8 7 1 0 87.50% 210 114 +96
 Spain 1 1 0 0 100.00% 47 3 +44
 Tonga 3 3 0 0 100.00% 153 53 +100
 United States 4 4 0 0 100.00% 209 42 +167
 Uruguay 3 3 0 0 100.00% 245 12 +233
 Wales 42 34 7 1 80.95% 1112 671 +441
 World XV 3 3 0 0 100.00% 87 59 +28
Total 545 344 177 24 63.12% 12,987 8,875 +4112

± The Cavaliers was the name given to an unofficial (rebel) New Zealand team that toured South Africa in 1986. The New Zealand Rugby Union did not sanction the team and do not recognise the side as a New Zealand representative team.



Springboks vs All Blacks


The two nations have a long history of competing against each other on the rugby field, with matches dating back over a century. Over time, the rivalry has become a defining feature of both nations' rugby cultures, with fans and players alike eagerly anticipating each new encounter. The only side the Springboks have a losing record to is the All Blacks with all other teams being over a 50 percent winning record.

The rivalry between South African rugby and New Zealand rugby is characterized by a number of factors. Firstly, the two nations have a history of producing some of the best rugby players in the world, and their teams are known for their skill, physicality, and intensity. Secondly, the rivalry between the two nations is fueled by a deep-seated desire to be the best in the world, with both teams striving to assert their dominance on the international stage.

The rivalry between South African rugby and New Zealand rugby is marked by a fierce competitive spirit and a deep respect for tradition and history. Both teams honor the legacy of those who came before them, and this respect is evident in the way they approach each game.

A game between South Africa and New Zealand is usually a highly anticipated event in the rugby world, with both teams known for their physicality, skill, and competitiveness. When the two teams face off, it is typically a highly intense and closely contested affair, with both sides pushing themselves to the limit in an effort to gain the upper hand.

The game is likely to be marked by a high level of physicality, with both teams known for their powerful forwards and hard-hitting backs.

In addition to physicality, the game is likely to be characterized by a high level of skill and tactical awareness. Both teams are known for their attacking prowess, and the game may feature a number of spectacular tries and creative attacking moves. At the same time, both teams will be acutely aware of the need to defend well, and the game may also feature some ferocious tackling and defensive heroics.

Ultimately, a match between the Springboks and the All Blacks is a showcase of some of the best rugby in the world. It’s a spectacle where two highly skilled and fiercely competitive teams battle it out for dominance on the field. Each encounter is a testament to the enduring legacy and evolving future of rugby, ensuring that the rivalry remains one of the most captivating and celebrated in the sport.


Kapa o Pango

The Kapa o Pango haka debuted in 2005, with South Africa being the first team to face it before a match in Dunedin, New Zealand. This choice was deliberate, reflecting the deep rivalry between the All Blacks and the Springboks.

The next year on 2 September 2006 in a game in Rustenburg, the Springboks became the first team of only four to beat the All Blacks in a match that had the "Kapa o Pango" performed prematch with a final score of 21–20.[119]

The biggest losing margin to the All Blacks for a test with the "Kapa o Pango" haka is 28 points which occurred in a test against South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on 25 August 2023, the final score being 35–7[120] (also the All Blacks' biggest defeat in history).

In tests starting with "Kapa o Pango", the Springboks have emerged victorious against the All Blacks on seven occasions, more than any other rugby team.

Springboks vs England


The first time South Africa and England faced each other was in 1903. The historical rivalry between these teams has increased on the back of two Rugby World Cup finals in which the teams faced one another, with the Springboks winning on both occasions in 2007 and 2019. In the 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign, the Springboks played against England in the semi-final. The Springboks won by a score of 16–15, adding further fuel to the rivalry between the two rugby nations.



Selection policy


Strategic Transformation Development Plan 2030 (STDP 2030): The Transformation Charter adopted at a sports Indaba in 2011 was a "one-size fits all" mechanism to guide sport towards the achievement of the longer term transformation goal of an accessible, equitable, sustainable, competitive and demographically representative sport system.

In the case of demographic representation for example, STDP 2030 target of 60% generic Black (black African, Coloured and Indian representation) was set and is the current milestone towards the ultimate goal of a sport demographic profile in line with the national population demographic of 80% black African, 9% Coloured, 9% White and 2% Indian.[121] However the targets are not legally enforceable quotas.

Notable players


Hall of Fame


Thirteen former South African international players have been inducted into either the International Rugby Hall of Fame or the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

  1. Barry "Fairy" Heatlie played 6 Tests between 1896 and 1903.
  2. Bennie Osler played 17 consecutive Tests between 1924 and 1933.
  3. Danie Craven played 16 Tests between 1931 and 1938.
  4. Hennie Muller played 13 Tests between 1949 and 1953.
  5. Frik du Preez played 38 Tests between 1961 and 1971.
  6. Morné du Plessis played 22 Tests between 1971 and 1980.
  7. Naas Botha played 28 Tests between 1980 and 1992.
  8. Danie Gerber played 24 Tests between 1980 and 1992.
  9. Francois Pienaar played 29 Tests between 1993 and 1996.
  10. Joost van der Westhuizen played 89 Tests between 1993 and 2003.
  11. Os du Randt played 80 Tests between 1994 and 2007.
  12. John Smit played 111 Tests between 2000 and 2011. Most appearances as Springbok captain 83.
  13. Bryan Habana played 124 Tests between 2004 and 2016. He is in second place among all time test try scorers, with 67 tries.

In addition to players, the World Rugby Hall of Fame has also inducted the following people:

  1. Kitch Christie, coach of the 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning team.
  2. Jake White, coach of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning team.
  3. Nelson Mandela for his impact on the sport.[122]

Award winners


The following South Africa players have been recognised at the World Rugby Awards since 2001:[123]

World Rugby Try of the Year
Year Date Scorer Match Tournament
2009 27 June Jaque Fourie vs. British & Irish Lions Lions Tour
2012 15 September Bryan Habana vs. New Zealand Rugby Championship
2014 4 October Francois Hougaard vs. New Zealand Rugby Championship

Current squad


On 25 June, Head Coach Rassie Erasmus named a 39-player squad for their incoming test series, with matches against Ireland and Portugal.[124]

Head Coach: South Africa Rassie Erasmus

Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Johan Grobbelaar Hooker (1997-12-30) 30 December 1997 (age 26) 0 South Africa Bulls
Malcolm Marx Hooker (1994-07-13) 13 July 1994 (age 30) 67 Japan Kubota Spears
Bongi Mbonambi Hooker (1991-01-07) 7 January 1991 (age 33) 71 South Africa Sharks
Jan-Hendrik Wessels Hooker (2001-05-08) 8 May 2001 (age 23) 0 South Africa Bulls
Thomas du Toit Prop (1995-05-03) 3 May 1995 (age 29) 18 England Bath
Vincent Koch Prop (1990-03-13) 13 March 1990 (age 34) 52 South Africa Sharks
Frans Malherbe Prop (1991-03-14) 14 March 1991 (age 33) 72 South Africa Stormers
Ox Nché Prop (1995-07-23) 23 July 1995 (age 28) 31 South Africa Sharks
Trevor Nyakane Prop (1989-05-04) 4 May 1989 (age 35) 67 France Racing 92
Gerhard Steenekamp Prop (1997-04-09) 9 April 1997 (age 27) 3 South Africa Bulls
Ben-Jason Dixon Lock (1998-04-29) 29 April 1998 (age 26) 1 South Africa Stormers
Eben Etzebeth Lock (1991-10-29) 29 October 1991 (age 32) 122 South Africa Sharks
Salmaan Moerat Lock (1998-03-06) 6 March 1998 (age 26) 5 South Africa Stormers
Franco Mostert Lock (1990-11-27) 27 November 1990 (age 33) 76 Japan Mie Honda Heat
RG Snyman Lock (1995-01-29) 29 January 1995 (age 29) 36 Ireland Leinster
Phepsi Buthelezi Loose forward (1999-05-30) 30 May 1999 (age 25) 0 South Africa Sharks
Pieter-Steph du Toit Loose forward (1992-08-20) 20 August 1992 (age 31) 79 Japan Toyota Verblitz
Siya Kolisi (c) Loose forward (1991-06-16) 16 June 1991 (age 33) 85 France Racing 92
Evan Roos Loose forward (2000-01-21) 21 January 2000 (age 24) 6 South Africa Stormers
Kwagga Smith Loose forward (1993-06-11) 11 June 1993 (age 31) 43 Japan Shizuoka Blue Revs
Marco van Staden Loose forward (1995-08-25) 25 August 1995 (age 28) 20 South Africa Bulls
Jasper Wiese Loose forward (1995-10-21) 21 October 1995 (age 28) 27 Japan Urayasu D-Rocks
Faf de Klerk Scrum-half (1991-10-19) 19 October 1991 (age 32) 58 Japan Yokohama Canon Eagles
Cobus Reinach Scrum-half (1990-02-07) 7 February 1990 (age 34) 32 France Montpellier
Morné van den Berg Scrum-half (1997-10-24) 24 October 1997 (age 26) 0 South Africa Lions
Grant Williams Scrum-half (1996-07-02) 2 July 1996 (age 28) 11 South Africa Sharks
Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu Fly-half (2002-02-22) 22 February 2002 (age 22) 3 South Africa Stormers
Manie Libbok Fly-half (1997-07-15) 15 July 1997 (age 27) 14 South Africa Stormers
Handré Pollard Fly-half (1994-03-11) 11 March 1994 (age 30) 71 England Leicester Tigers
Lukhanyo Am Centre (1993-11-28) 28 November 1993 (age 30) 35 South Africa Sharks
Damian de Allende Centre (1991-11-25) 25 November 1991 (age 32) 81 Japan Saitama Wild Knights
André Esterhuizen Centre (1994-03-30) 30 March 1994 (age 30) 17 South Africa Sharks
Jesse Kriel Centre (1994-02-15) 15 February 1994 (age 30) 71 Japan Yokohama Canon Eagles
Kurt-Lee Arendse Wing (1996-06-17) 17 June 1996 (age 28) 17 South Africa Bulls
Cheslin Kolbe Wing (1993-10-28) 28 October 1993 (age 30) 33 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Makazole Mapimpi Wing (1990-07-26) 26 July 1990 (age 33) 42 South Africa Sharks
Edwill van der Merwe Wing (1996-04-12) 12 April 1996 (age 28) 1 South Africa Lions
Aphelele Fassi Fullback (1998-01-23) 23 January 1998 (age 26) 3 South Africa Sharks
Willie le Roux Fullback (1989-08-18) 18 August 1989 (age 34) 95 South Africa Bulls



Current coaching staff


The current coaching staff of the South African national team was revealed on 6 February 2024:[125]

Coaches Position
South Africa Rassie Erasmus Director of Rugby
Ireland Jerry Flannery Defence Coach
New Zealand Tony Brown Attack Coach
South Africa Deon Davids Forwards Coach
South Africa Mzwandile Stick Backs Coach
South Africa Duane Vermeulen Assistant Coach
South Africa Daan Human Scrum Consultant
South Africa Jaco Peyper Laws Adviser

Former coaches


The role and definition of the South Africa coach has varied significantly over the team's history. Hence a comprehensive list of coaches, or head selectors, is impossible. The following table is a list of coaches since the 1949 All Blacks tour to South Africa. Both World Cup-winning coaches, Christie and White, were inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011 alongside all other World Cup-winning head coaches through the 2007 edition.[126]

Name Years Tests Won Drew Lost win percent Accomplishments
South Africa Danie Craven 1949–1956 23 17 0 6 73% New Zealand series win 1949; Australia series win 1953; British and Irish Lions series draw 1955; Australia series win 1956
South Africa Basil Kenyon 1958 2 0 1 1 0%
South Africa Boy Louw 1960, 1961, 1965 9 6 1 2 67% Australia series win 1961
South Africa Izak Van Heerden 1962 4 3 0 1 75% British and Irish Lions series win 1962
South Africa Felix du Plessis 1964 1 1 0 0 100%
South Africa Johan Claassen 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 21 13 3 6 62% British and Irish Lions series win 1968; France series win 1968; New Zealand series win 1970; France series win 1971; Australia series win 1971
South Africa Hennie Muller 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965 16 7 1 8 44% New Zealand series win 1960; Australia series win 1963;
South Africa Ian Kirkpatrick 1967, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 12 9 1 2 75% France series win 1967; France series win 1975, New Zealand series win 1976
South Africa Avril Malan 1969–1970 8 4 2 2 50% Australia series win 1969
South Africa Nelie Smith 1980–1981 15 12 0 3 80% South American Jaguars series win 1980 (1); British and Irish Lions series win 1980; South American Jaguars series win 1980 (2); Ireland series win 1981
South Africa Cecil Moss 1982–1989 12 10 0 2 83% South American Jaguars series win 1982; England series win 1984; South American Jaguars series win 1984; NZ Cavaliers series win 1986; World Invitation series win 1989
South Africa John Williams 1992 5 1 4 0 20%
Zimbabwe Ian McIntosh 1993–1994 12 4 2 6 33%
South Africa Kitch Christie 1994–1995 14 14 0 0 100% Argentina series win 1994; Rugby World Cup winner 1995
South Africa Andre Markgraaff 1996 13 8 0 5 61% France series win 1996; Tri-Nations runner up 1996; Argentina series win 1996
South Africa Carel du Plessis 1997 8 3 0 5 37% Tri-Nations runner up 1997
South Africa Nick Mallett 1997–2000 38 27 0 11 71% Ireland series win 1998; World record equal longest unbeaten run (17 Games) 1997–1998; Tri-Nations winner 1998; Italy series win 1999; Rugby World Cup 3rd Place 1999
South Africa Harry Viljoen 2000–2001 15 8 1 7 53%
South Africa Rudolf Straeuli 2002–2003 23 12 0 11 52% Wales series win 2002; Scotland series win 2003
South Africa Jake White 2004–2007 54 36 1 17 66% Ireland series win 2004; Tri-Nations winner 2004; France series win 2005; Tri-Nations runner up 2005; Scotland series win 2006; England series win 2007; Rugby World Cup winner 2007
South Africa Peter de Villiers 2008–2011 48 30 0 18 62% Wales series win 2008; Tri-Nations winner 2009; British and Irish Lions series win 2009; Beat the All Blacks three times in one year; Italy series win 2010
South Africa Heyneke Meyer 2012–2015 48 32 2 14 66% England series win 2012; Rugby Championship Runner-up 2012; Rugby Championship Runner-up 2013; Wales series win 2014; Rugby Championship Runner-up 2014, Rugby World Cup 3rd Place 2015
South Africa Allister Coetzee 2016–2017 25 11 2 12 44% Ireland series win 2016; France series win 2017
South Africa Rassie Erasmus 2018–2019 26 17 1 8 65% England series win 2018; Rugby Championship Runner-up 2018; Rugby Championship winner 2019; Rugby World Cup winner 2019
South Africa Jacques Nienaber 2020–2023 39 27 0 12 69% British and Irish Lions series win 2021, Wales series win 2022, Rugby Championship Runner-up 2022, Rugby Championship Runner-up 2023, Rugby World Cup winner 2023
South Africa Rassie Erasmus 2024– 3 2 0 1 67% Ireland series draw 2024

See also



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Further reading

Awards Preceded byItaly national football team Laureus World Team of the Year 2008 Succeeded byChina Olympic Team