Springboks name most experienced combination

by RUGBY.com.au staff

South Africa have, this morning, named the most experienced team in Springbok history for their Rugby World Cup 2011 quarterfinal against Australia in Wellington on Sunday.

Coach Peter de Villiers made three changes to the team that started against Samoa – one of the changes forced by injury – in a combination featuring 836 caps, surpassing the previous record of 815 posted against Wales in the team’s opening match of the tournament.

Captain John Smit and loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp return to the front row, while Jean de Villiers resumes his place in the No 12 jersey in place of Frans Steyn, who suffered a tournament-ending shoulder injury in the 13-5 victory over Samoa.

The XV includes eight players who started in the 2007 Rugby World Cup final as well as three players who were part of the squad. Only Pat Lambie, Morne Steyn and Heinrich Brüssow of the starting team were not involved in 2007, while Pierre Spies was originally selected but had to withdraw due to illness.

Bismarck du Plessis drops to the bench where he is joined by CJ van der Linde, Willem Alberts and Francois Louw, who were all replacement forwards against Samoa.

The versatile Francois Hougaard retains his place among the back replacements where he is joined by flyhalf Butch James and outside back Gio Aplon.

South Africa

1. Gurthrö Steenkamp

2. John Smit (c)

3. Jannie du Plessis

4. Danie Rossouw

5. Victor Matfield

6. Heinrich Brüssow

7. Schalk Burger

8. Pierre Spies

9. Fourie du Preez

10. Morné Steyn

11. Bryan Habana

12. Jean de Villiers

13. Jaque Fourie

14. JP Pietersen

15. Pat Lambie


16. Bismarck du Plessis

17. CJ van der Linde

18. Willem Alberts

19. Francois Louw

20. Francois Hougaard

21. Butch James

22. Gio Aplon


• The oldest player is Victor Matfield (34 Years)

• The youngest player is Pat Lambie (20 Years)

• The heaviest player is CJ van der Linde (123 kg)

• The lightest player is Geo Aplon (78 kg)

• The tallest player is Victor Matfield (2.01 m)

• The shortest player is Geo Aplon (1.75 m)

• The average weight of the forwards is 115 kg

• The average weight of the backs is 93 kg


• The starting lineup has 836 combined caps. This is the most experienced Springbok side of all time, with 21 more caps than the team that played against Wales in South Africa’s opening game in this tournament.

• This will be South Africa’s 30th test match in RWC tournaments. Of the previous 29 tests, only three were lost, for a winning percentage of 89.7%, the best of any participant in this tournament.

• South Africa have scored 115 tries in Rugby World Cup tournaments and 1 000 points.

• The first test that was played by South Africa on a Sunday was against Italy in Rome on 12 November 1995. Since then the Springboks have played in 13 tests on a Sunday. They have won them all.


• John Smit will captain the Springboks for a world record 83rd time, in his 111th Test and 17th RWC match, both Springbok records. All 17 tests have been consecutive, placing him alongside Brian Lima of Samoa and one match behind record holder Martin Johnson of England who played in 18 consecutive RWC Matches. Smit is the only captain in RWC history to have captained his team in three RWC tournaments.

• Victor Matfield will play in his 110th test for the Springboks. He is the most capped lock forward in Rugby Union and has scored 7 test tries in his Springbok career.

• Bryan Habana extended his Springbok career try-scoring record in tests for South Africa to 40 tries in 73 tests against Samoa. His 10 RWC tries are also a Springbok record.

• Jaque Fourie is the most capped Springbok centre (57) and leading centre try scorer (28). Fourie and Jean de Villiers will extend their Springbok record as a centre pairing to 26 tests on Sunday.

• Morne Steyn passed the 400-points mark in Springbok rugby during the test against Samoa. He is currently the top point scorer in this tournament with 53 points. He will also play in his 22nd consecutive test match.

• Pierre Spies is South Africa’s top try scorer in tests as a No 8 with 7 tries.

• Schalk Burger is South Africa’s most capped flank forward with 65 tests and shares the Springbok try-scoring record for a flank with Juan Smith with 11 tries each.

• Danie Rossouw has scored six tries in RWC tournaments, a Springbok record for a forward.

• Gurthrö Steenkamp is South Africa’s top try scorer as a prop in tests with 6 tries. Three of his six tries were scored against Australia.

• Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis will play together as brothers in their 20th test should Bismarck be used from the bench.

• Butch James is South Africa’s most capped flyhalf with 37 tests. Butch played in 6 tests in RWC 2007, but only once as a substitute against Wales in this tournament.

• Francois Hougaard is South Africa’s top try scorer in this tournament together with Frans Steyn with 3 tries each.

• CJ van der Linde will play in his 35th test as a substitute should he be used off the bench.


24/07/2010 Australia won 30-13 in Brisbane.

28/08/2010 South Africa won 44-31 in Pretoria.

04/09/2010 Australia won 41-39 in Bloemfontein.

23/07/2011 Australia won 39-20 in Sydney.

13/08/2011 Australia won 14-9 in Durban.


Peter de Villiers made his International Coaching debut in June 2008 against Wales in Bloemfontein. His match record is as follows: 47 test matches of which 30 were won with 17 losses for a win percentage of 63.8%.

Robbie Deans is a former All Black who played in five test matches for New Zealand. Following a successful career with the Canterbury Crusaders (under his guidance the Crusaders played in seven Super Rugby Finals of which his team won five), he was appointed as Head Coach of the Australian Wallabies in 2008. He made his International Coaching debut in June 2008 against Ireland in Melbourne.

His match record since then is: 52 test matches of which 30 were won, 21 lost with one drawn for a win percentage of 57.7%.


South Africa have played seven Tests at the venue: Five were lost – all against the All Blacks – while two have been won during this tournament, against Wales and Fiji.


Bryce Lawrence of New Zealand made his Test debut in 2008 in a Tri-Nations test between Australia and South Africa. The test was played in Perth and was won by Australia 16-9.

Sunday’s match will be his 20th Test appearance and his seventh involving the Springboks. Of the previous six tests South Africa won 4 and lost two. Both losses were against Australia, the most recent, earlier this year in Durban when the Springboks lost 14-9.