The best Springbok Rugby World Cup squads rated by tries scored

The best Springbok Rugby World Cup squads rated by tries scored

Considering the country has won the Rugby World Cup three times already, there are plenty of opinions about which was the best Springbok Rugby World Cup Squad - but no one can argue about which one scored the most tries.

South Africa is a country blessed with an abundance of rugby talent and tradition, and is one of the powerhouse nations of the sport.

The Springboks have won the Rugby World Cup three times (in 1995, 2007 and 2019) and have never failed to make the quarter-finals in the history of the competition.

In addition to their three victorious campaigns, South Africa finished third in 1999 and 2015. So when considering which is the best-ever Springbok World Cup squad, there is a lot to take into account.

However, one thing most rugby fans will agree on is that scoring tries is good for business in the world of rugby.

With that in mind, we trawled through the archives to find out which South Africa Rugby World Cup team crossed the whitewash the most.

7. 1995 - 13 tries in six games. 144 points scored

This was South Africa's first Rugby World Cup after being prevented from competing in the first two due to political pressure related to Apartheid.

As it turns out, it was also the first Rugby World Cup they would win, and on home soil to boot, but as this achievement has been described as a miracle on plenty of occasions, it shouldn't come as a surprise that this was not South Africa's most prolific try-scoring team.

In total, they scored 13 tries in six games before famously winning the final off the back of Joel Stransky's boot.

6. 2011 – 19 tries in five games, 175 points scored

Despite arriving at the Rugby World Cup in 2011 as defending champions, the Springboks were anything but one of the favourites after going through a torrid spell of form under head coach Peter de Villiers.

South Africa's captain John Smit, right, chats with coach Peter De Villiers, left

They began the tournament with a narrow one-point win over Wales before the demolitions of Fiji and Wales placated fans a bit.

However, South Africa again struggled for tries against good teams and received a huge eye-opener against Samoa in their final group game, which they only managed to win 13-5.

They then came up against a resolute Australia side in the quarter-final and were beaten 9-11 without scoring a try to be unceremoniously dumped out for the competition by one of their fiercest rivals.

5. 1999 - 20 tries in six games, 219 points scored

At the 1999 edition of the Rugby World Cup, South Africa was much more of a known entity in World Rugby and no longer had the element of surprise on their side.

However, they were still able to go deep into the tournament, thrashing Scotland in the group stage before cruising past England in the quarter-final only for their progress to be halted in a kicking duel with Australia in the final four.

They would go on to beat New Zealand to claim third place and also managed to score seven more tries than in 1995.

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4. 2003 - 26 tries in five games, 193 points scored

The 2003 Rugby World Cup is one I'm sure many Springbok fans have wiped clean from their memory.

The term "flat-track bullies" comes to mind when thinking back to South Africa running circles around the minnows and completely losing the plot against anyone who actually challenged them.

They began the tournament with an 11-try rout of Uruguay before losing to England without scoring a single five-pointer.

It was then thrashings of Georgia and Samoa, scoring seven and eight tries in those games respectively, before being summarily dumped out of the tournament in the quarter-final by New Zealand - again without crossing the whitewash.

3. 2015 – 26 tries in seven games, 241 points scored

The 2015 Rugby World Cup was an interesting one for South Africa in several unpleasant ways.

For starters, after a few years of trying out running rugby under Peter de Villiers, they were firmly back to the forward-dominated style of attrition that is so effective in international rugby but not particularly fun to watch.

The team was mired in controversy that year, with head coach Heyneke Meyer accused of favouring white-skinned players. It got so severe, the team was even taken to court and their place at the World Cup was under threat.

They had lost all of their 2015 Rugby Championship games too, including a first-ever loss to Argentina. Things did not get much better at the tournament either, as South Africa embarrassingly lost their opening game of the tournament to Japan.

They recovered enough to claim the bronze medal, beating Argentina in the third-place playoff after being beaten by New Zealand in the semi-finals - but there is no doubt it was a severe uphill battle all the way through.

2. 2007 – 33 tries in seven games, 278 points scored

The 2007 edition of the tournament is arguably one of the Springboks' most complete performances at a Rugby World Cup.

Coached by Jake White, South Africa had risen from sixth in the IRB World Rankings in 2003 to first in 2007 and was considered a genuine title contender for the first time.

They showed why with dominant performances in the group stage, including a 36-0 thrashing of England - who they would also beat in the final to win the trophy although the tournament decider was a much closer affair.

While there is no doubt this was South Africa’s most comprehensive showing at a Rugby World Cup to that point, some have argued they had an easy path to the trophy as they did not have to play any of Australia, New Zealand or France.

1. 2019 – 33 tries in seven games, 262 points scored

South African rugby is most well-known for being dominant, ferocious and bordering the edges of legal forward play and the 2019 World Cup was no exception with the first appearance of the controversial “Bomb Squad” off the bench.

However, this tournament was also the first in which the Springboks really allowed their backline to sparkle. The likes of Bongi Mbonambi, Cheslin Kolbe and Lukanyo Am set the tournament alight with silky moves and sharp running lines and complemented the always-dominant forwards perfectly.

All that is said with the aid of 20-20 hindsight, though, because the World Cup certainly did not go to plan as they were once again beaten in their very first game of the tournament, this time by New Zealand.

The response was emphatic, with wins over Namibia, Italy and Canada to follow, scoring 172 points and conceding just 13 (one try) in those three games.

South Africa made short work of Japan in the quarter-final before being run incredibly close in a 19-16 win over Wales in the semi-final and beating England again in the final with a relatively more comfortable scoreline of 32-12.

To underline the point that this was South Africa’s most exciting World Cup squad further, even though this was the third Rugby World Cup trophy the Springboks had won, Mapimpi’s try in the 66th minute against England was the first time they had crossed the whitewash in a Rugby World Cup final.

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