Durban - There has been recognition at last for the Springboks from World Rugby who have selected five Boks for their Dream Team of the Year.
Perhaps feeling guilty for overlooking the No 1 ranked team on the planet in their Player of the Year nominations, the governing body has sought atonement by recognising the stellar efforts this year of Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi.
The Boks began a difficult season at No 1 on the World Ranks and 20 weeks and 13 Test matches later they were still No1, and it is correct that one-third of the Dream Team is South African.
Marx (hooker), Etzebeth (lock), Kolisi (flank), Am (centre) and Mapimpi (wing) were all included in the Dream Team, which also featured the four players nominated for the World Rugby Player of the year, Maro Itoje (England lock), Michael Hooper (Wallaby loose forward), Antoine Dupont (France scrumhalf) and Samu Kerevi (Wallaby centre).
With five representatives, the Springboks have contributed the most players to the Dream Team. The All Blacks have three and the Wallabies have two, while Scotland, England, France and Wales have one inclusion each.
“To contribute a third of the World Rugby Dream Team not only underlines how good the Springboks performed in a very difficult season but also how our individual players rose to the occasion – and this is true for more than just these five,” said Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby,
“It’s certainly a well-deserved accolade in what was an important season for the national team following a long absence from international rugby due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The competition for this team was tough, and for a handful of our players to be in the mix in a year in which they finished the season as the top team in the world makes this an even more notable achievement.
“A sincere congratulations to Siya, Eben, Malcolm, Lukhanyo and Makazole for this significant recognition,” added Alexander.
Bok coach JacquesNienaber was also full of praise for the players who were key members in the team’s success and said: “The entire Springbok team and coaching staff are delighted for the players.
“It is a fantastic achievement, and it shows the class and skill level of the players we have within our squad and in the country. We all share in their excitement.”
Another big day awaits the top players in the country on Friday when the SA Rugby Player of the Year nominees, along with the short-listed players for a cohort of other awards for the 2021 season, will be named.
World Dream Team: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Will Jordan (New Zealand), 13 Lukhanyo Am (South Africa), 12 Samu Kerevi (Australia), 11 Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa), 10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), 9 Antoine Dupont (France), 8 Adrie Savea (New Zealand), 7 Michael Hooper (Australia), 6 Siya Kolisi (South Africa), 5 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Malcolm Marx (South Africa), 1 Wyn Jones (Wales).