Selecting the Greatest All-Time South Africa XV

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Selecting the Greatest All-Time South Africa XV
BERNARD PAPON/Associated Press

South African rugby has a rich history full of wonderful players. The current crop may be some distance off world No. 1 New Zealand, but it has not always been the case.

In truth, the rugby landscape may well look markedly different if the Springboks had not been cast into sporting purgatory during the Apartheid years that saw many of their great players collect so few caps.

There was no South African side present at the first two World Cups won by New Zealand and Australia, and they have won two since gaining readmission.

This 15 looks down the decades at players who were regarded as true greats despite the paucity of caps won, as well as some from the modern era who have earned their place in the pantheon of all-time greats.

With players from the mid 1990s onwards, evidence of their greatness is in abundance, with the 1995 World Cup propelling many of them to stardom and the age of the internet providing a treasure trove of video footage of the modern era's achievements.

The men who came before them were the generation who missed out on such exposure as the cameras turned away from their efforts before they were welcomed back into the fold.

But their quality goes unquestioned, and though they may not have won world cups, those who saw them can testify to their greatness, and it is on that evidence those men make this side.


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