What you didn’t know about the Springboks

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is underway in England, but how much do you know about the Springbok team?

Get to know the Springbok squad, their positions, test caps and some of the more unusual things about the men in green and gold. 

Props:

Coenie Oosthuizen (23), Trevor Nyakane (15), Tendai Mtawarira (67), Frans Malherbe (5), Jannie du Plessis (70)

 It’s a family affair for Sharks and former Cheetahs tighthead prop Jannie Du Plessis holds the record for the most test caps with his brother Bismark, also a member of the Springboks. Both brothers were on the bench at the 2007 Rugby World Cup final.

Another powerhouse player with a strong scrum technique is Tendai Mtawarira, aka Beast, who first played for the Springboks against Wales in 2008. 

The Zimbabwe-born prop was so determined to succeed as a rugby player that he rode his bicycle from his lodgings in Morningside to the Sharks Academy in Durban despite being teased, according to IOL.

Tendai Mtawarira during the 2011 Super Rugby Competition when the Sharks took on the Rebels. Photo: RykNeethling from Melbourne, Australia (Rabodirect Rebels vs Sharks Uploaded by stemoc) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tendai Mtawarira during the 2011 Super Rugby Competition when the Sharks took on the Rebels. Photo: RykNeethling, via Wikimedia Commons

Hookers:

Adriaan Strauss (50), Bismarck du Plessis (74), Schalk Brits (12)

Schalk Brits made his Springbok debut in 2008 according to SA Rugby

This experienced player has played for the Golden Lions, the Cats, Western Provence, the Stormers and signed for English team, the Saracens, in the 2009/2010 season.

Despite Bismark du Plessis being one of the most feared hookers in recent seasons, the 112kg player also has a softer side which is evident after he told SA Rugby that his favourite movie is the epic drama, Legends of the Fall.

Springbok prop, Bismarck du Plessis, at Murrayfield during a test match against Scotland. Photo: Wiki Commons

Springbok prop, Bismarck du Plessis, at Murrayfield during a test match against Scotland. Photo: Sahmejil, via Wiki Commons

Centre:

Jesse Kriel (3), Jean de Villiers (108) (captain), Damian de Allende (8)

Captain Jean de Villiers has suffered many injuries along his rugby journey. 

In 2002 he tore ligaments in his right knee; in the 2007 World Cup he tore his biceps in the first match, and in the 2011 World Cup opener, he popped a rib. 

But in November 2014, de Villiers suffered a sever injury when he dislocated his kneecap, ruptured three knee ligaments and torn his hamstring at the top and bottom during the November game against Wales, according to the Telegraph.

Jesse Kriel is part of another sibling duo with his twin brother Dan Kriel who both excelled in the Junior Springboks in 2014.

Locks:

Victor Matfield (125) (vice-captain), Eben Etzebeth (36), Pieter-Steph du Toit (3), Lood de Jager (12)

Former junior Springbok who was part of the winning 2012 World Rugby U20 Championships, Pieter-Steph du Toit, was close to missing his chance of being a part of the 2015 Springbok squad.

Du Toit was all but ruled out after he twisted his knee in a Sharks versus Cheetahs match in March this year. But thanks to his father, Pieter du Toit who donated his own ligament, the lock recovered in time for the World Cup according to SuperSport.

Vice-captain Victor Matfield came out of retirement for the World Cup, and has played the most games for the Springboks with 125 test caps. 

At 2 metres tall and thought to be one of the best locks in the world, it’s no surprise that this giant’s favorite movie is Thor, according to SA Rugby.

Victor Matfield during the Lione during versus Bulls game during the Super 15 in March 2011. Photo: Tyler Yeo, via Wiki Commons.

Victor Matfield (right) being lifted during a line out during the Lion during versus Bulls game during the Super 15 in March 2011. Photo: Tyler Yeo, via Wiki Commons.

Loose Trio:

Duane Vermeulen (32), Francois Louw (38),Siya Kolisi (11), Schalk Burger (77), Willem Alberts (35)

 Siya Kolisi, who made his full Springbok debut against Scotland, is not only an excellent rugby player but also a family man who loves home cooked umphokogo (pap and amasi) according to Destiny Man

Kolisi also told the magazine that he is currently working on getting custody of his half siblings aged 7 and twelve, whom he lost touch with when they were taken into social services care 7 years ago.

A player who had to overcome adversity is Schalk Burger who went into hospital to do a routine draining of a cyst next to his spinal when he developed bacterial meningitis according to Timeslive

Burger fought for his life in intensive care last year and recovered to take back his place in the green and gold lineup. 

Schalk Burger running toward the try-line in a match against Samoa during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Photo: derivative work: Anrie (talk), via Wiki Commons

Schalk Burger running toward the try-line in a match against Samoa during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Photo: derivative work: Anrie (talk), via Wiki Commons

Scrumhalf:

Ruan Pienaar (93), Rudy Paige (0), Fourie du Preez (70)

Newcomer and Blue Bulls scrum-half, Rudy Paige, is a local Joburger who studied at the University of Johannesburg. 

Despite being the only uncapped player in the squad, Paige is eager to prove himself at the World Cup, according to the SA Rugby Magazine.

The South African rugby union player Ruaan Pienaar at Murrayfield during a test match against Scotland. Photo: Sahmejil, via Wiki Commons

The South African rugby union player Ruaan Pienaar at Murrayfield during a test match against Scotland. Photo: Sahmejil, via Wiki Commons

Flyhalf:

Morné Steyn (61), Handré Pollard (13), Patrick Lambie (46)

The multi talented Patrick Lambie has the rare ability to be able to play fullback, flyhalf and centre positions according to an interview with Club X. Lambie was also the youngest member of the squad the last time the Springboks were in the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Back Trio:

JP Pietersen (63), Lwazi Mvovo (20), Willie le Roux (29), Zane Kirchner (30), Bryan Habana (110)

Bryan Habana scored his first test try in his debut for the Springboks and hasn’t stopped since then. The speedster who has raced a cheetah and an Airbus A380 scored four tries against Samoa during the 2007 World Cup.

Bryan Habana joining the South Africa Rugby World Cup 2007 Winners in a Parade on a bus. Photo: E M i L i A [2], via Wiki Commons

Bryan Habana joining the South Africa Rugby World Cup 2007 Winners in a Parade on a bus. Photo: E M i L i A [2], via Wiki Commons

Infographic: Where will the Springboks play their first matches?

The Springboks are ready to take on the Rugby World Cup 2015. They will be playing in venues that are usually the hallowed ground of football fanatics.

In the past few months, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of these grounds. Football critics are worried about the damage 22 heavy-set men will cause to the pristine football pitches.

INBOUND: The springboks will be playing across various venues around the UK. In group B, they will be facing Japan, Scotland, Samoa and the USA.

INBOUND: The springboks will be playing across various venues around the UK. In group B, they will be facing Japan, Scotland, Samoa and the USA.

South Africa wins for Mandela

Unite4Mandela: Supporters at the FNB Stadium in Soweto during the Bafana Bafana soccer match

Unite4Mandela: Supporters at the FNB Stadium in Soweto during the Bafana Bafana soccer match. Photo: Caro Malherbe

The Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day at the FBN stadium in Soweto saw both the Boks and Bafana Bafana play to victory.

The stadium was a alive with #humanspirit as a diversity of South Africans came to show their support for the two major national sports teams. Dressed in green and yellow, supporters came flooding in from all walks of life. The feeling was that no matter what the outcome, uniting together for a common purpose was a win for us all.

Not only did South Africans unite for their love of soccer and rugby but  the day was in honour of tata Mandela #Unite4Mandela, the man who represents unity itself.

Bafana Bafana vs Burkina Faso

A sea of South African flags was seen and vuvuzelas heard as Bafana Bafana came running onto the field, ready to take on Burkina Faso.

With a score of 2-0, Bafana Bafana set the mood for the rest of the day. With so many fans cheering and encouraging our team, Burikina Faso did not stand a chance.

Man of the match, Siphiwe Tshabalala, scored the first goal in the first half and Luyolo Nomandela scored in the second half.

[pullquote align=”right”]This win helped fans regain their belief in Bafana.[/pullquote]

Coach Gordon Igesund said he hoped that the team will be able to carry on with the trend for their important match against Botswana on 7 September.

FNB Stadium: South Africans came from all walks of life to show their support.

FNB Stadium: South Africans came from all walks of life to show their support. Photo: Caro Malherbe

Springboks vs. Argentina

The amount of stadium goers doubled when the Springboks vs. Argentina game kicked off.

Playing their first game of the Rugby Championship Test series, the Boks brought the heat when they annihilated Argentina with a score of 73-13.

After the first half, it was clear that it was going to be an easy win. Although the Pumas held on by the skin of their teeth and showed fighting skill, they could sadly did not manage to beat the sterling team.

The Springboks showed great discipline by receiving only four penalties to Argentina out of the 16 handed out.

It was raining tries for the Boks while the roaring cheers from 50, 000 audience members gave the Boks even more steam for domination.

The team held the Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day Cup high as they celebrated their massive victory and Adriaan Strauss was named man of the match.

Springboks: Argentina stood no chance against the persistent Boks. Photo: Caro Malherbe

Springboks: Argentina stood no chance against the persistent Boks. Photo: Caro Malherbe

Bafana Bafana Legands vs. Italian Legends

The first match of the day was played by the SA Masters who lost 2-0 to the Italian Legend.

The Bafana Legends were the team who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, two years after the first free and fair political elections in South Africa. The team played on Saturday in honour of the man who made it all happen.

After the sport, supporters were treated to some culture when the stadium became alive with music from some of South Africa’s top acts. Kurt Darren, Elvis Blue and Toya Delazy were some of the musical icons who performed and got the stadium rocking.

All proceeds from the day will be going towards building a new Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

The day was a mammoth affair for all South Africans across the country and was a great example of how far we have come in the fight for freedom and unity.

Halala: War cries could be heard all around the stadium. Photo: Caro Malherbe

Halala: War cries could be heard all around the stadium. Photo: Caro Malherbe