South Africa have been one of the best rugby teams in the world for multiple decades. That success has often been seen at the Rugby World Cup. But just how successful have the Springboks been at the Rugby World Cup.
How many times has SA won the Rugby World Cup? South Africa have won the Rugby World Cup three times. The first was in 1995, then in 2007 and most recently winning the tournament in 2019.
Since being reintroduced to international rugby in the 1990s, South Africa have been one of the best teams in the world. While they do not have the same records outside of the Rugby World Cup as New Zealand, the Springboks always seemed to save their best performances for the Rugby World Cup.
Well in their first tournament, the expectations were pretty high on South Africa. They were the hosts of the 1995 Rugby World Cup as the country moved out of Apartheid. The tournament as a whole was a brilliant time for South Africa and it was made even better by the Springboks winning it all.
After a couple of disappointments, South Africa were back in the final twelve years later. This time they faced England, the team who had beaten them in the group stage four years prior. But the Springboks had beaten England in the group stage already in that competition.
So it was hardly surprising when the Springboks won their second Rugby World Cup title in a tight kicking filled game against England. They became the second country to win the Rugby World Cup twice, with Australia being the first.
In 2019, South Africa were back in the final against England once again. England were the favoured team, but the Springboks put in an exceptional performance. They were far too powerful for England, scoring two late tries to seal their third Rugby World Cup title.
South Africa are one of only two teams to win the Rugby World Cup three times in the tournament’s history. They have also never lost in a final that they have been to. South Africa will hope that they could become the first team to win the tournament four times in 2023.
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What is the best South Africa Rugby team of all time?
South Africa has produced some incredible rugby teams in sports history. With three Rugby World Cup titles, there are a few different teams to choose from as to who is the best South African Rugby team of all time.
Most people would say that the 2007 South African team was the best rugby team that South Africa have ever produced. It is not the year where South Africa had the best results all round. Despite winning the Rugby World Cup, they did lose three games although all three of those were prior to the tournament.
In the Rugby World Cup, South Africa were pretty much perfect throughout, with Tonga the only side able to get within one score of the Springboks. They dominated England in the final and created lots of opportunities for Percy Montgomery to score with his boot.
The main reason why this South African team is seen as the best is the number of exceptional players on the team. Upfront, they had a huge amount of experience and were able to overpower an elite front row in the Rugby World Cup final.
Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield are one of the best lock partnerships of all time and produced heavy carrying as well as a lot of driving power in the scrum. Their back row featured three incredibly powerful ball carriers, with Schalk Burger the headline name in that group.
While the forwards was the stronger group, there were still some superstars in the backs. Bryan Habana is one of the best wingers in the history of the sport and his try scoring record with the Springboks was exceptional. The big boot of Francois Steyn was a dangerous weapon for South Africa.
If you look at the squad that South Africa had in 2007, there are so many legendary names that they have to be the best Springbok team of all time. There may be other years where South Africa had a better record, but the 2007 team seems like the best Springbok team of all time.
Who is the best SA Rugby Player of all time?
There have been some exceptional rugby players in the history of South African rugby. It is not easy to pick who the team’s best player of all time is.
Most people would say that Bryan Habana is the best South African rugby player of all time. Born in Johannesburg, Habana made his Springbok test debut when he was just 21 years old. At that time, Habana was seen as an exceptional young talent. An electric winger who was scoring tries at an absurd rate.
The expectations were high for Habana and he certainly delivered on that. He was the top try scorer at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and a crucial part of the team that won that tournament. His pair of tries in the semi-final helped South Africa cruise to the Final.
When Habana did retire, he was by far the best try scorer in South African rugby history. With 67 tries in his international career, Habana is the record try scorer of the South African rugby team. He is also the highest capped back in South Africa rugby history with 124 caps across an outstanding 12-year career.
As well as a Rugby World Cup winner, Habana played almost every minute as South Africa won the 2009 Tri Nations series. His try in the second test helped South Africa beat the British and Irish Lions in the 2009 series.
South Africa has had a lot of legendary players. John Smit, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Pienaar and Victor Matfield could all be in the conversation for the best South African player of all time.
But the exceptional performances that Habana put in on the international stage give him a slight edge over the competition.