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Tue 30 Jun 2020 | 02:28

From 2012 to 2019: Who has the bragging rights?

From 2012 to 2019: Who has the bragging rights?
Tue 30 Jun 2020 | 02:28
From 2012 to 2019: Who has the bragging rights?
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: When they hoisted the 2012 IRB Under-20 World Championship trophy at Newlands, the Junior Springboks were oblivious to what the future holds.

The 2012 Under-20 South Africa side served as a beacon of hope.

Now, fast forward to 2019, and it is clear that the legacy of that triumph is alive and well.

Sixteen of the 33 players called up by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus before and during World Cup 2019, 16 had donned the famous green jersey at a World Rugby U20 Championship.

Nine of those were selected in the 23-man squad for the 32-12 victory over England in the Final in Yokohama last November.

It is only flank Pieter-Steph du Toit, flyhalf Handré Pollard and replacement prop Steven Kitshoff that have won both global tittles.

All three players had started at Newlands on June 22, 2012 – when the Junior Springboks beat New Zealand 22-16 to secure U20 Championship glory on home soil.

Pollard, only a few months past his 18th birthday, kicked 12 points during that match and would have an even bigger influence on the World Cup 2019 Hinal, converting both his side’s tries and contributing six penalties to keep England at arm’s length.

Kitshoff and Du Toit demonstrated their immense power in the scrum as they shoved back and dominated the All Blacks pack on their own line back in 2012.

Both continue to play a vital part in the Springbok set-up – with Du Toit’s performances in Japan propelling him to being named World Rugby 15s Player of the Year 2019 a day after victory in Yokohama.

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Handre Pollard

Just after guiding the South African Under-20 team to glory in the IRB Junior World Championship on home soil in June, an 18-year-old Pollard captained his high school side Paarl Gimnasium against rivals Paarl Boys High in 2012.

The flyhalf is no doubt a tremendously talented rugby player.

His career was certainly not smooth sailing. In 2016, following a short stint in Japan, Pollard was sidelined for nine months due to a knee injury.

During that time, he also opted to undergo shoulder surgery, but while in recovery, Pollard developed septicaemia in his shoulder – which almost cost him his arm and ended his career.

Fortunately for South Africa, he recovered in 2017 and continued to play an integral part in the country’s rugby.
In 2019, the 26-year-old first-choice flyhalf won the World Cup with the Springboks and has been plying his trade in France with Montpellier.

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Pieter Steph du Toit

After the 2012 IRB World Championship, Du Toit made his Springboks debut in November 2013 when he came off the bench during a Test against Wales in Cardiff.

Du Toit became a regular feature in the Springbok squad. And despite frequently used as a lock at the Stormers during 2018 season, Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus’ decisions to utilize him as flank boosted the 27-year-old’s career.

In June 2018, the Springboks No.854 received the honour of captaining the Boks against Wales in Washington.

2019 was certainly a good year for Du Toit.

Aside from claiming the 2019 SA rugby player of the year, Du Toit scooped up the 2019 World Rugby player of the year, beating his teammate wing Cheslin Kolbe, as well as All Black Ardie Savea and England’s young star Tom Curry.

Du Toit’s impressive 2019 season had a lot of high-profile overseas clubs seeking his services, however, he opted to remain at the Stormers.

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Steven Kitshoff

The loosehead prop is certainly one of South Africa’s beloved sons. Although injuries have been a massive torn in his career, the Stormers stalwart have proven to be one of the best in South Africa.

Kitshoff joined French side in Bordeaux in 2015, however soon return to South Africa and made his debut for the Springboks in 2016.

He rejoined the Stormers in 2017 and have since been a massive part in the Super Rugby side’s leadership group, captaining the Stormers during the 2019 Super Rugby season during Siya Kolisi’s absence.

 

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From 2012 to 2019: Who has the bragging rights? | Rugby365