Precious few South Africans don’t truly feel the spirit of the rainbow nation when the Rugby World Cup rolls along every four years. Perhaps it’s the fond memories of the very first World Cup the Boks won in 1995, but this is one sporting event that always seems to draw the country together.
This year’s World Cup is the first to ever take place in Asia and will be hosted by Japan, who also named three South African-born players in their own squad.
South Africa plays in Pool B, where they will face off against arch rivals New Zealand, together with Italy, Namibia and Canada. Don’t let the pool fool you, though: even if the All Blacks are obviously strong contenders for the William Webb Ellis Cup, we all remember what happened in 2015, when the current tournament’s hosts thrashed the Springboks in a match that still haunts fans to this day.
Here is the Springbok squad that will represent South Africa in Japan in September:
Props: Steven Kitschoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls)
Hooker – Schalk Brits (Bulls), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers)
Locks: Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Toulon), Franco Mostert (Gloucester), RG Snyman (Bulls)
Back row: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Siya Kolisi (Stormers, captain), Francois Louw (Bath), Kwagga Smith (Lions), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)
Scrum-halfs: Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers)
Fly-halfs: Handre Pollard (Montpellier), Elton Jantjies (Lions)
Centres: Frans Steyn (Montpellier), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)
Outside backs: Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makanzole Mapimpa (Sharks), S’bu Nkosi (Sharks)
Head coach: Rassie Erasmus
There is a considerable time difference between South Africa and Japan, so you might want to stick the Springbok match fixtures on your fridge, so you never miss a game.
New Zealand vs South Africa
Saturday, 21 September, 11:45 South African Time
International Stadium Yokohama
South Africa vs Namibia
Saturday, 28 September, 11:45 South African Time
City of Toyota Stadium
South Africa vs Italy
Friday, 4 October, 11:45 South African Time
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa
South Africa vs Canada
Tuesday, 8 October, 12:15 South African Time
Kobe Misaki Stadium
Assuming the Boks pull through, the quarter finals of the RWC 2019 will take place on 19 and 20 October, the semi-finals will be held on 26 and 27 October, the Bronze Final takes place on 1 November, and the Final will be held on 2 November.
Here’s wishing good fortune upon our boys – the whole nation is behind you!