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Posted on Monday, 07 Jun 2021


Free State Rugby and the Toyota Cheetahs are immensely proud and grateful that so many Bloemfontein schooled, current and former Free State players and coaching staff have been included in the Springbok and Rugby Sevens line-up: From Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, to current Cheetahs Frans Steyn and Rosko Specman.

A total of 16 players and coaching staff in the Springbok team for the British Irish Lions tour and two in the Sevens side either currently play, or were former Free State and Cheetahs players and coaches or grew up in Bloemfontein. (See SARU team list below)

Managing Director Harold Verster said “The announcement shows, yet again, the depth of rugby in the Free State and its contribution to South African, even world rugby, over many decades. We are proud, grateful and congratulate each one on this recognition. Free State arguably has made a bigger contribution to South African rugby than any other union in the country. The top coaches in South Africa and even abroad are from the Free State or were developed here: Rassie Erasmus, Jacques Nienaber, Niel Powell, Daan Human, Brendan Venter (consultant coach at SA Rugby) and Franco Smith (currently the head coach of Italy).

The Cheetahs’ consistent performance over an extended period shows a well-run organization, with high-quality people and proven processes.  Over the last 15 years, the Cheetahs are the second most consistent Currie Cup team based on average log position. This is an exceptional performance by a team in spite of significantly smaller player salary budgets than its major competitors, and despite the loss of numerous first-class players. Free State rugby has contributed significantly to transformation. Top players and former players such as Hanyani Shimange, Trevor Nyakane, Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba, Sintu Manjezi, Raymond Rhule, Oupa Mohoje and Makazole Mapimpi were developed in the Free State.

Springbok squad:


Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks, 12 caps, 0 pts)

Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers, 47 caps, 5 pts)

Vincent Koch (Saracens, 21 caps, 0 pts)

Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers, 38 caps, 5 pts)

Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks, 1 cap, 0 pts)

Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls, 42 caps, 5 pts)

Coenie Oosthuizen (Sale Sharks, 30 caps, 20 pts)


Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux-Bègles, uncapped)

Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears, 33 caps, 25 pts)

Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers, 36 caps, 35 pts)

Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Stormers, 1 cap, 0 pts)


Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks, 45 caps, 25 pts)

Eben Etzebeth (Toulon, 85 caps, 15 pts)

Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Montpellier, uncapped)

Franco Mostert (Honda Heat, 39 caps, 5 pts)

Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers, 3 caps, 0 pts)

RG Snyman (Munster, 23 caps, 5 pts)

Loose forwards:

Dan du Preez (Sale Sharks, 4 caps, 0 pts)

Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers, 55 caps, 25 pts)

Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks, 50 caps, 30 pts)

Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo, 6 caps, 0 pts)

Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls, 3 caps, 0 pts)

Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls, 54 caps, 15 pts)

Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)


Utility forwards:

Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks, 13 caps, 10 pts)

Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, 2 caps, 0 pts)


Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, 30 caps, 20 pts)

Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers, 10 caps, 20 pts)

Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks, uncapped)

Cobus Reinach (Montpellier, 14 caps, 30 pts)


Elton Jantjies (Pau, 37 caps, 281 pts)

Handré Pollard (Montpellier, 48 caps 457 pts)

Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls, 66 caps, 736 pts)


Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks, 15 caps, 15 pts)

Damian de Allende (Munster, 47 caps, 30 pts)

Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles, 46 caps, 60 pts)

Wandisile Simelane (Emirates Lions, uncapped)

Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs, 67 caps, 141 pts)

Outside Backs:

Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks, uncapped)

Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, 14 caps, 40 pts)

Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, 61 caps, 60 pts)

Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks, 14 caps, 70 pts)

Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks, 11 caps, 40 pts)

Yaw Penxe (Cell C Sharks, uncapped)

Rosko Specman (Toyota Cheetahs, uncapped)

Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers, 6 caps, 5 pts)

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