For most Springbok supporters, things are actually quite simple: Eben Etzebeth and Malcolm Marx are the best players in the world and are on par with the other international players.
Still, it’s always interesting to see how overseas media approach things. This week, Wales Online selected its 30 best international players and six Springboks made the list.
Steven Kitshoff (number 26)
According to the Welsh, Kitshoff is the epitome of a modern prop: He scrums well, he attacks the advantage line and his presence only portends problems for his opponents at the breakdown points.
Kitshoff made his Springbok debut in 2016 against Ireland and has since played 76 tests.
Cheslin Kolbe (number 21)
The quick-footed winger often makes much bigger players look down their noses. He scored a spectacular try in the final of the 2019 World Cup against England and rugby clubs are paying big money to acquire his services.
“If you try to stop Cheslin Kolbe in a telephone booth, he will probably still be able to pipe you. When it comes to physical play, he’s second to none,” says the report on Wales Online.
The 29-year-old fullback played his first test for the Springboks against the Wallabies in Brisbane in 2018. He has since scored 12 tries in the green and gold.
Frans Malherbe (number 20)
The Welsh journalists proclaim Malherbe the best tight-head prop in the world; and one must agree with them.
Wales Online describes the 1.9m, 120kg prop as the “rock on which the Springboks’ World Cup charge was built”.
Malherbe, who has played 63 tests, is probably one of the main reasons for the Springboks’ scrum success.
Lukhanyo Am (number 11)
An untimely knee injury means that Am does not count among the Springboks’ World Cup squad of 33 players, but the center is still highly regarded.
His good defense in particular makes experts sit up and he is described as the glue that holds South Africa’s midfield together.
“He is definitely one of the best centers in the world.”
Eben Etzebeth (number six)
According to the Welsh, the Springbok forwards will be very difficult to stop in France. And the veteran lock with 113 tests to his name is the fire in the Boks’ engine room.
Malcolm Marx (number five)
Ratchet tough, reliable and lids strong: Forget about the no. 2 on his back, for many Springbok supporters Marx is the no. 1 player in the world.
“Marx’s throw-in work at the lineouts has improved significantly and when it comes to scrum-making, he is the best hooker in the world,” wrote Wales Online.
- Richie Mo’unga (New Zealand), Gregory Alldritt (France), Ardie Savea (New Zealand) and Antoine Dupont (France) round off the top five players.
Click here to see the publication’s full list.