The Greatest Bok of all time

I have been a rugby fan for the best part of my 40 years of existence. I have followed many generations of Boks, Bulls and on the rare occasion even a Stormer or a Shark or two. 🙂

We have had many great players in my lifetime, but I was wondering if I had to pick only the ultimate legends of Springbok rugby who would they be. These must be the guys that were undeniably at the very top of their positions in the world.

After much pondering and trying to be completely fair I have made MY choices. Here in no particular order they are:

Carel du Plessis: Despite the pretentions of Bryan Habana, Carel “The Prince” du Plessis edges it.

Danie Gerber: The best swerve in the game. Will probably be the most popular pick. Our best centre ever.

Victor Matfield: Gave us the 2007 World Cup. Best lock SA has ever had. One of the 3 best locks the world has ever had.

André Joubert: The best 15 we’ve ever produced. Had the balance of a ballet dancer. Played us into the World Cup final in 1995. We could use him now!

Joost van der Westhuizen: Fourie du Preez and Divan Serfontein might have something to say about it, but to me Joost is probably still the best 9 we have had. Was a big part of our 1995 success.

However I sincerely without favour or prejudice believe that the greatest player we have produced is none other than Hendrik Ignatius Botha aka Naas. I don’t think any other player was as influenced by Apartheid as Naas Botha. Had he been allowed to play at the highest level in his prime, I believe he would today have been known as Rugby’s Pele. The prodigious and more importantly realised talent that this kid had at 18 is to this day unmatched in my opinion.

The way that Naas could determine a game’s outcome with only a lock and a scrumhalf is actually quite unbelievable today. Who could ever forget the final against Transvaal when Naas “dropped” Northern’s to the title. I remember him kicking for the corner when the ball dropped a half metre out and a half metre from touch. Not punted into the stands, but inch perfect. This he literally did 4 or 5 times I game. Today great players get
cheered for doing it once in a game. He could also kick with both feet. Not some makeshift hack,  but real accurate kicking!

Yes sir. For me our greatest rugby player of all time remains Naas Botha.

3 thoughts on “The Greatest Bok of all time

Add yours

  1. I think we sometime allocate hero worship to players of yesteryear without giving adequate recognition to those who currently play. Here is my best 15 I have seen:
    – Andre Joubert
    – J P Pietersen. He will become an absolute legend
    – Danie Gerber
    – Michael du Plessis
    – Habana
    – Lem or Naas
    – Joost. He was the reason our backline was so good. He kept one flanker busy and made gaps wide.
    – Morne du Plessis
    – Andre Venter, although there is a very good case for Juan Smith and Rassie for sheer genius
    – Schalk Burger
    – Victor Matfield
    – Bakkies Botha
    – Tommie Laubcher
    – Bismarck
    – Os.

    Iwould pick the standouts for total dominance as Os, Matfield, Joost, Habana (at his prime) and Gerber.

    Naas was not tested at the highest level. It’s like Greame Hick not playing tests and rating him on his first class average.

    1. “Naas wasn’t tested at the highest level”. Neither was Danie Gerber and yet he cracks your nod. Maybe a bit of predictable anti-bull sentiment in that one eh?

      Also I wonder about that statement. He wasn’t tested in Bok colours (not in his prime anyway), but he was tested against many of the players you have in your squad and came up trumps.

      But your point is a valid one. We could never know for sure. But for me, based on pure talent, he is to this day the greatest player I have seen.

    2. I like your 15. Would’ve had Carel in for Habana though. Habana close second though. Lem was a great 10, but Naas was the Greatest. No 3 though? Tommie who? Andre Venter or Juan Smith is a tough one for me. Jean de Villiers and Jacque Fourie in their hey-day were the greatest combo in the world at the time, but I would also have gone for Michael du Plessis. Os, Bismarck and Bakkies pick themselves. I reckon Bismarck is a candidate for a true legend. Rassie & Ruben Kruger were also outstanding, but Schalla wasn’t World Player of the Year for nought. > Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2012 05:02:49 +0000 > To: >

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