The 30 greatest Springboks of the past 40 years have been shortlisted, with 27 Rugby World Cup winners making the cut.
South African Sunday newspaper the Relationship counted down the greatest players to wear green and gold over the past 40 years, with an esteemed judging panel making their selections.
Former Springbok coaches Jake White, Nick Mallett, Peter de Villiers and Carel du Plessis were joined on the panel by current coaches Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick. Also involved were former captains Wynand Claasen and Theuns Stofberg, along with the Relationship writers.
All three Rugby World Cup winning captains have reached the final 30, with the 2007 World Cup class providing the most entries.
Winners of the 1995 World Cup
Only two Springboks from the pre-pro era have cracked the top 30 in former fly-half captain Naas Botha and star center Danie Gerber.
Out of the partnership, flanker Andre Venter was the only player who did not lift the Rugby World Cup trophy during his career.
The list includes seven winners from the 1995 World Cup, with captain Francois Pienaar coming in at number 28.
He is joined on the list by the late Chester Williams and Ruben Kruger. Lock became number eight during the 1995 tournament; Mark Andrews just missed out on the top 20. Beloved full-back Andre Joubert broke through the top 15 to No. 14.
The last two 1995 winners feature in the top 10 with prop Os du Randt, who also won the 2007 World Cup, at number four and scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen at number two.
Winners of the 2007 Rugby World Cup
As mentioned above, Du Randt finished fourth and is joined by 12 teammates who lifted the William Webb Ellis Cup in 2007.
Hooker Bismarck du Plessis finished in 29th, with center Jaque Fourie in 26th.
Blindside flanker Juan Smith has just made it into the top 20, claiming 20th place, with Percy Montgomery, Frans Steyn and Jean de Villiers featured in the teens.
The Springboks side of the late 2000s were renowned for their potent forward squad, and the top 10 reflects their dominance as captain John Smit is partnered by Schalk Burger, Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, with the foursome winning the World Cup and the 2009 Lions Series.
2007 World Player of the Year Bryan Habana took third place, with Fourie du Preez taking top honors on the list.
Rugby world cup 2019 winners
Like Du Randt, Frans Steyn is a two-time World Cup winner and is joined in the top 30 by eight of his teammates who won the tournament in 2019.
Top winger Cheslin Kolbe was the last name on the list, just three places below hooker Malcolm Marx. Center Lukhanyo Am is also there in the 1920s, as is Captain Siya Kolisi.
Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Tendai Mtawarira are featured in Teens along with Steyn.
Lock Eben Etzebeth is the only 2019 World Cup winner to make the top 10.
Report Book Top 30
1 Fourie du Preez
2 Joost van der Westhuizen
3 Bryan Havana
4 Os du Randt
5 Victor Matfield
6 Bakkie Botha
7 Schalk Burger
8 John Smith
9 Eben Etzabeth
10 Daniel Gerber
11 Tendai Mtawarira
12 Pieter Steph du Toit
13 Andre Venter
14 Andre Joubert
15 Jean de Villiers
16 Frans Steyn
18 Percy Montgomery
19 Naas Botha
20 John Smith
21 Mark Andrew
22 Reuben Kruger
23 Siya Kolisi
25 Lukhanyo Am
26 Jacques Fourie
27 Malcolm Marx
28 Francois Pienaar
29 Bismarck du Plessis
30 Cheslin Kolbe
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The article Springboks: South African newspaper picks the 30 best players of the past 40 years first appeared on Planetrugby.com.