Rugby World Cup 2019: South Africa

  • 01/04/2019

World ranking: Fourth

Qualification: 2015 semi-finalists

Best result: Champions 1995, 2007

TAB odds: $5.50

Chances: The Springboks sprang a major surprise with their Rugby Championship win over the All Blacks in Wellington last year and went close to repeating that result at home soon after.

At their best, they are a big threat. They certainly have the talent, but struggle for consistency and look decidedly lacklustre whenever they venture north of the Equator.

Leading players

Malcolm Marx 

Despite the obvious credentials of Dane Coles, Malcolm Marx holds the mantel as the world's best hooker. A brute around the park with ball in hand, Marx is also South Africa's best breakdown forward and a wall in defence.

Duane Vermeulen 

Has been one of the standout forwards of the Springboks' unbeaten 2019. A ball-playing No.8 who is just as good on the blindside, Vermeulen is a big reason why South Africa are New Zealand's biggest threat to a three-peat. 

Siya Kolisi 

The first black captain in Springboks history, Kolisi is a dynamic openside flanker with a power running game reminiscent of the great Michael Jones in his prime. Kolisi, Vermeulen and Pieter-Steph du Toit form a dynamic loose-forward trio as good as any in Japan.

Herschel Jantjies 

Faf de Klerk is the undisputed No.1 halfback in the Springboks setup, but Jantijes offers an injection of excitement, speed and skill. Along with George Gregan's running game and Aaron Smith's pass, look for Jantijes to terrorise tiring defences. 

Handre Pollard 

The best No.10 on the planet right now, Pollard is the brains behind a powerful and talented South African backline that has run rampant over the likes of Australia, England and the All Blacks in the last 12 months. Pollard is also an accurate goal-kicker and he just might top the points standings come the end of the tournament.


Forwards: Schalk Brits, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen

Backs: Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Cheslin Kolbe, Warrick Gelant, Willie le Roux.

Pool draw (NZT)
September 21
New Zealand v South Africa, Yokohama City, 9:45pm (live updates)

September 28
South Africa v Namibia, Toyota City, 9:45pm

October 4
South Africa v Italy, Shizukoa Prefecture, 10:45pm (live updates)

October 8
South Africa v Canada, Kobe City, 11:15pm


Rugby World Cup 2019 Dictionary

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...