KSA Shark ©

RWC 2007 Boks: A year on

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 20 Oct 2008 at 09:40

A year ago today the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup. Rob Houwing explores where the 22-man squad for the Paris final against England stand today, and finds a trend in line with economic jitters …

15 Percy Montgomery
Stocks: Fallen slightly

Solidity and dependability itself at the World Cup, the veteran has been used fairly sparingly in a variety of jerseys since – perhaps not surprisingly for a man in his mid-thirties. Indeed, he’s almost become the new “Splinters Shimange” in bench-time terms, although he still seldom lets the cause down and is in the midst of a final WP/Stormers fling which ends after Super 14 2009.

14 JP Pietersen
Stocks: Slumped

Perhaps a slightly harsh judgement considering signs of a personal renaissance in recent weeks, but he must be judged in totally since the World Cup ended and it’s mostly been an abject year for the once handsomely-galloping try machine. Confidence seemed to drain as quickly as you’d empty a child’s bathwater, but maybe the Currie Cup final will conclusively prove his climb back to sharpness?

13 Jaque Fourie
Stocks: Fallen slightly

As with several other RWC 2007 Boks, Fourie’s dip over the 12 months is overwhelmingly because of injury, including the indignity of fracturing his cheekbone just when he’d successfully fought off the jinx elsewhere! But the plucky Lions customer seems to be fast approaching his best form again, and dealt very well defensively with WP’s “new Lomu”, Sireli Naqelevuki, in a key Currie Cup encounter at Newlands.

12 Frans Steyn
Stocks: Unmoved

Here’s an irony: the multi-skilled youngster still feels flyhalf is actually his best and most desired spot, but he’s ending 2008 for the Sharks as he ended RWC 2007 with the Boks (thanks to Jean de Villiers’s enforced early return from France) – playing at inside centre! And, as in the closing stages of the World Cup, broad-shouldered Steyn’s doing fine at No 12. Positional future? Who knows?

11 Bryan Habana
Stocks: Fallen slightly

One of the most iconic performers in the Boks’ Webb Ellis success, the left-wing whirlwind remains an undoubtedly lethal weapon. But the frequency of his thrilling dashes has diminished a bit and some critics think he rather drifts in and out of games now. Then again, you’re only as good as the space and chances you’re provided with …

10 Butch James
Stocks: Fallen slightly

He’s far less of a walking yellow card for his tackling style nowadays, considering the mellowing that ageing brings, but 2008 has seen the jury remain very much out on his ability to truly boss international games. James is possibly, too, an example of one of those modern, globe-trotting pros who simply plays too much rugby.

9 Fourie du Preez
Stocks: Fallen slightly

Another belated arrival on the Test scene this year, following a long stint on the crocked list, Du Preez looked understandably ring-rusty when he returned for the Boks midway through the Tri-Nations — certainly not the player widely regarded as the world’s No 1 scrumhalf after the World Cup. But, like Jaque Fourie, he is steadily making up lost time.

8 Danie Rossouw
Stocks: Tumbled

Again, this may be a rough call because the big fellow never lets the Boks or Bulls down. But in a sea of exciting South African loose forwards, he is looking less and less likely to be considered for Test duty among the back three in the pack. Certainly, the No 8 cupboard is now hugely stocked with nearly-as-powerful men who eclipse Rossouw for dynamism. His best bet is to genuinely specialise at lock now.

7 Juan Smith
Stocks: Fallen slightly

Admirable fellow and seemingly reluctant hero. But the Cheetahs stalwart carries a big load these days and, even if he produces precious few Bok performances you could emphatically brand “poor”, he hasn’t been quite the same standout blindside battler this year as he was in France.

6 Schalk Burger
Stocks: Unmoved

Like Smith, this guy puts his body on the line week after week, and to an even greater extent. He makes “combative” seem an understatement and got in people’s faces in 2008 just as he did the year before. But he is moving gradually into middle age in rugby-playing terms and may need to start being more carefully managed soon. Yes, even if he positively loathes that prospect!

5 Victor Matfield
Stocks: Fallen slightly

The BBC described him as “ruling the skies” in the World Cup final and we have come to expect him to do that the world over, haven’t we? But there’s no question that he dipped below his best this season, disappointing in his lack of visibility beyond the lineouts and sometimes not even collecting the ball with customary clockwork efficiency from kick-offs and kick-ins. Some doubts about his international captaincy, too.

4 Bakkies Botha
Stocks: Fallen slightly

Yet another RWC 2007 Bok who fell victim to the injury hoodoo this year, but hopefully the enforced, long rest will see him emerge hungrier and meaner than ever. Botha was among several Springbok pack members taken by surprise by the taste-your-own-medicine physicality of Ali Williams and Brad Thorn in early Tri-Nations combat, and then got crocked against Argentina in mid-competition before he could get a chance for home-soil revenge against the All Blacks. Badly missed for those kamikaze cleanouts of his …

3 CJ van der Linde
Stocks: Unmoved

Even at age 28, nobody is completely sure just how classy a tighthead Van der Linde – now at Leinster – is. Sometimes he’s awesome, sometimes he looks disinterested. It is possible his last few years may be his best, in which case he could strongly challenge the likes of Brian Mujati and Jannie du Plessis for Bok honours again.

2 John Smit
Stocks: Fallen slightly

That disgraceful dumping by Brad Thorn didn’t do his 2008 cause any favours, did it? Sidelined for months, he is on the comeback trail at last; his Bok captaincy skills were certainly missed.

1 Os du Randt
Stocks: Unmoved

Two World Cup-winning medals, an utterly assured legendary status, worldwide … what more could a now-retired Free State farmer want?


16 Bismarck du Plessis
Stocks: Risen slightly

Here’s a rare case of a player whose shares have actually gone northward since the World Cup – primarily because of his great Bok game-time while John Smit’s been sidelined. And the rugged competitor looks like the future at No 2, doesn’t he?

17 Jannie du Plessis
Stocks: Unmoved

We are still to see truly what this doctor is made of as a Test tighthead, but he is to curb his activities in medicine in favour of a more all-embracing rugby thrust, and that will do the Boks and Sharks no harm at all.

18 Johann Muller
Stocks: Fallen slightly

Getting niggly injuries himself at a time when he might have capably deputised as a like-for-like for Bakkies Botha didn’t help; it meant Andries Bekker got several opportunities to advance his decent claims.

19 Wikus van Heerden
Stocks: Fallen slightly

The Bulls man revelled when given opportunities at the World Cup, but he is close to 30 now and Saracens-bound.

20 Ruan Pienaar
Stocks: Fallen slightly

Another Sharks player whose versatility can almost be his own worst enemy at times; some critics are convinced he is a new Bok flyhalf in the making. But he seems determined to persevere primarily with his scrumhalf goals.

21 Andre Pretorius
Stocks: Slumped

“Jinxed” only begins to describe the little Lions dynamo’s battle with injuries. So much so that it has been acknowledged his rugby future is not guaranteed — even if his franchise lives in hope.

22 Wynand Olivier
Stocks: Unmoved

It was tempting to say he’s also gone backwards in Bok terms, but his high visibility on both attack and defence for the Bulls this year may yet mean a recall to higher honours.


It’s got to be a bit of a worry that, of the starting team which beat England 15-6 in Paris on October 20 last year, nobody’s stocks have indisputably risen a year on.

Indeed, by Sport24’s judgement, only Bismarck du Plessis of the entire match 22 has actually cranked his game up a level since.

Of course, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean Bok rugby has violently hit the crash barrier, either: Jean de Villiers, for instance, departed the World Cup early through injury and has been in the form of his life this year.

Then there has been the emergence (or in some cases resurrected credentials) in 2008, too, of players like Beast Mtawarira, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Ricky Januarie, Jongi Nokwe, Adi Jacobs and Conrad Jantjes.

But it would still be nice to think that some of our stars of that giddy Parisian night a year ago might recapture their personal magic soon, wouldn’t it?

Perhaps the end-of-year UK tour will mark “economic turnaround” for those still involved …


  • clever article, although I can’t say I agree with all of the rating. CJ’s stocks have definitely tanked, anyway

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.10.08 09:46:33 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • CJ van der Linde
    Stocks: Unmoved
    Even at age 28, nobody is completely sure just how classy a tighthead Van der Linde – now at Leinster – is.

    I will always see CJ as a loosehead.

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.10.08 09:50:16 by PJLD Reply
  • @PJLD (Comment 2) :

    I will always see him as a guys whose head needs screwing on. he is a walking Penalty at the moment.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.10.08 09:56:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • One i DO agree with is Danie Rossouw having TUMBLED.

    He is not a patch of what he was.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.10.08 09:57:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • It is true and disturbing though that there are a slump amongst the ‘old’ hands. So much more of an opportunity to introduce young flair?

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.10.08 09:59:41 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • 20 Ruan Pienaar
    Stocks: Fallen slightly
    Another Sharks player whose versatility can almost be his own worst enemy at times; some critics are convinced he is a new Bok flyhalf in the making. But he seems determined to persevere primarily with his scrumhalf goals.

    It’s almost as though, because Ruan WON’T move to 10 his stocks are down. He’s been the form number 9 in the CC and was Player of the month. He’s the primary kicker and play-maker in the side and a decision-taker of note.

    Is he comparing the Boks then as boks now (tri nations) or as players then and now?

    In which case he’s a bit off the mark, especially as Os isn’t even playing…..

    While I accpet that this is a good study to make, it has more than a few flaws in it.

    You also cannot expect players to rise above the whole energy and excitement level that playing in a RWC does as opposed to pool matches in the lowest competition these guys are involved in (behind RWC, 3N, S14).

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.10.08 10:16:15 by Baldrick Reply

  • @Baldrick (Comment 6) : Spot on…there’s a lot of inconsistency here…

    Ruan’s stocks have fallen and Steyn’s are unmoved? 😯 Come on…

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.10.08 11:06:11 by just blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!

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