Can you guess the most capped Springbok team of all time?

The Springbok team that competed in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand was the most experienced in South African rugby history.

With a combined total of 987 Test caps, this team eclipsed the previous record of 895 caps set just a week earlier against England in the semi-final.

Unmatched Springbok Experience

This Springbok team featured an impressive lineup, including 10 players who had started in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final victory over England.

The starting XV alone boasted a combined 880 Test caps, making it the second-most experienced Springbok lineup ever.

Forward Pack Dominance

The forward pack, which shared 623 caps and averaged 78 caps per player, was particularly noteworthy. As the most experienced ever fielded by the Springboks, this forward pack exemplified strength and experience.

Their collective experience was a decisive factor in the final match against New Zealand.

Record-Breaking Springbok Halfbacks

Halfbacks Handré Pollard and Faf de Klerk started together for a record 25th time.

They became the most capped Springbok halfback pairing, surpassing the previous record held by Joost van der Westhuizen and Henry Honiball, who had started together in 24 Tests.

Their familiarity and coordination were crucial in guiding the Springboks during the match.

Eben Etzebeth’s Milestone

Lock Eben Etzebeth equalled Tendai Mtawarira’s 117 caps, becoming the joint third most-capped Springbok in history.

This milestone highlighted Etzebeth’s enduring contribution to South African rugby and his significance in the team’s strategy.

Strategic Bench Selection

The replacements bench featured a 7-1 split favouring forwards, with Willie le Roux as the lone back reserve.

This strategy aimed to mitigate potential backline injuries and ensure the forward pack remained dominant throughout the match.

The depth of experience on the bench ensured that the Springboks could adapt to any situation during the game.

The Most Seasoned Springbok Team Ever

With a wealth of experience, especially among the forwards and halfbacks, this was statistically the most seasoned Springbok team ever assembled for a major match.

This depth of experience played a critical role in their performance against New Zealand in the final.

Conclusion

The 2023 Rugby World Cup final saw South Africa field its most experienced team ever. With a combined total of 987 Test caps, including record-breaking halfbacks and a strategically selected replacements bench, the Springboks were well-prepared for the challenge.

Their unmatched experience and strategic depth positioned them strongly against New Zealand in what was an epic encounter.