Famous South African Rugby Players

The Springboks have an extremely proud rugby history and have attained much in the game including Rugby World Cup wins in 1995, 2007 as well as 2019. New Zealand is the only other nation to have won the Cup on three occasions.

Here are a number of the most famous South African rugby players.

Uli Schmidt

Schmidt had a distinguished career with the Springboks between the years 1986 and 1994. During this period of time, he was recognised as a formidable front-row forward.

Even under pressure, Schmidt never baulked and went on to win 10 out of 17 professional matches. Indeed, he is celebrated in the world as one formidable player of his time.

François Steyn

François Steyn made rugby history when he became the youngest player to achieve a Rugby World Cup victory, with South Africa’s win over England in 2007. With the 2019 win, Steyn became the first two-time World Cup-winner from his country.

He formed part of the 2008 Laureus World Team of the Year.

Andre Joubert

Joubert was frequently described as the Rolls Royce of full-backs. The tall, lanky runner was talented in every aspect of full-back play. He had speed, strength and composure under the high ball. He was a shuddering tackler – ten tries in 34 Tests underscores his ability to cruise into the attacking line and annihilated defences.

However, he could also do the rough stuff. His best hour possibly came in amongst the muck and hail of the 1995 World Cup semi-final which was played against France. Kings Park Stadium in Durban was hit by a rainstorm of epic proportions, and Joubert went onto the field in a hand brace as he broke his hand in the quarter-final.

In spite of the injury and horrendous conditions in which to deal with the French aerial onslaught, Joubert was his usual assured self, and he went on to form part of that famous defensive effort which repelled Jonah Lomu and the All Blacks in the World Cup final.

Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana took the rugby world by storm – and his finest hour was possibly when he finished the 2007 Rugby World Cup as the top scorer for the tournament. All through the 2015 Rugby World Cup he matched Lomu’s career record of 15 tries in World Cups and was came second when it comes to all- time test try scorers with a total of 67 tries.

Naas Botha

Naas Botha, who was a Springbok flyhalf and as popular as NZ mobile pokies, played for South Africa 28 times between 1980 and 1992. During his international career, he was crowned as the rugby player of the year on four occasions. Nearly all of his Springbok career spanned the sporting wilderness that South Africa faced owing to Apartheid.

He will be fondly remembered as a massively gifted kicker who was fierce with the boot and scored 312 points for the Springboks. Botha held the record as South Africa’s leading point’s scorer until 2004. In addition, he spent some time in the NFL and played rugby in the USA as well as Italy.

Author: Darren Gray