With the buzz from winning the World Cup still booming around the country, it’s hard to remember
such a time when South African rugby was this good, especially in recent times anyway. The team
has – without a doubt – got the country firmly on side once again and given the nation a real lift. It’s
been beautiful to see, really.
There were past glories too though, of course. Stars from the past helped shape the stars of the
future and laid the foundations for what turned out to a remarkable summer in Japan for the
Springboks, culminating in that glorious final win over England. With concerns over economic
hardship, rising inequality, populist race-baiting, corruption and serious concerns about the nation’s
future as a whole, the Springboks’ victory certainly provided the nation with hope for change and a
respite from all the negativity.
It was win that demonstrated just how far the Springboks have come in a relatively short space of
time too. Many people didn’t expect South Africa to win the World Cup, which was perhaps
summed up by the joyous celebrations around the country, with people having street parties,
celebrating with various dancing and games – not the sort of games that you should check out at
slotsheaven.com/ – but more celebratory, carrying people on shoulders and drinking bucket loads
of beer ones. You can’t really beat them, can you? Especially given the circumstances!
With the Springboks of today being celebrated – and rightly so too – we thought we’d also take a
look back at some past heroes and highlight, once again, the impact South African rugby has had
around the world.
In his prime, Jacques Fourie was regarded as the best centre in world rugby and, arguably, the
best centre world rugby has seen. An evasive and incredibly smart rugby player, Fourie played his
best rugby at outside centre, a position he really made his own at the time. Fourie scored a frankly
ridiculous 32 tries for South Africa in 72 matches, with a combined total of 160 points for the
Springboks. What a player he was!
An area in which South Africa has perhaps lacked over the years has been in the wingers
department, with Pieter “slaptjips” Rossouw being one of the few that spring to mind when
assessing past legends in that part of the field. A quality winger on his day and regarded as one of
the greatest minds of all time, Rossouw had blistering pace which was accompanied by
intelligence on the wing.
What an absolute beast Venter was! A man of steel who would never shirk a battle, Venter was
feared by many of his opponents due to his sheer brute force and the way he played the game at
such an unrivalled intensity. Venter was strong on his feet and brutal on defence, but was equally
impressive at the breakdown for the Springboks. Simply put, any side would have loved to have
had Andre Venter in their ranks. Luckily for us, South Africa had him.
Frik du Preez
After being selected for a President’s Overseas XV against England in 1971, Frik du Preez left the
field to a standing ovation. It was this, amongst a whole host of other achievements, which meant
he had to make the list. A brute of a second-row and a huge presence on the pitch, du Preez was
once described as “what Bradman was to Australian cricket, Pele was to Latin American football
and Colin Meads is to New Zealand rugby.” You can’t argue with that, really.