With 10 days until the Springboks start their title defence, SARugbymag.co.za takes a look at the greatest flyhalves to wear the green and gold at the World Cup.
Forever remembered as the man who slotted the drop goal to clinch South Africa’s first World Cup title, Joel Stransky wrote his name in rugby folklore in the 1995 World Cup.
Stransky provided one for the history books in the opening match of the tournament when he became the first Bok to score by all means possible in a single match, scoring try and kicking a conversion, four penalties and a drop goal to guide South Africa to a 27-18 win over defending champions, Australia.
While Butch James is better known for being one of the most fearsome tacklers to don the N0 10 jersey, he was also a world-class flyhalf, whose confidence, composure and skill was key to South Africa’s successful 2007 World Cup campaign.
James was plagued by successive knee injuries in the early parts of his Test career, but bounced back to play to his full potential in 2007, scoring a try in the semi-final win over Argentina and helping the Springboks nullify the influence of opposite number Jonny Wilkson in the final against England. His final Test appearance came as a reserve in the 2011 World Cup pool-stage win against Wales.
Jannie de Beer
A kicker extraordinaire, Jannie de Beer was South Africa’s star of the 1999 World Cup, slotting a world record five drop goals in the quarter-final victory over England.
De Beer won 13 Test caps for South Africa as he spent the majority of his international career behind Henry Honiball in the pecking order, but his boot was always reliable when called upon.
The boy who became a man, Handre Pollard was just 21 when he was promoted to Springbok general at the 2015 World Cup. The flyhalf’s potential was on full display in England, where the Springboks claimed bronze, as he slotted 23 penalties, nine conversions and two drop goals to finish as the tournament’s second-highest point-scorer with 93.
It was in Japan in 2019 that Pollard came into his own, finishing on top of the point-scorers list with 69 as the Springboks claimed their record-equalling third title.