Springboks Aim for 2027 World Cup Dominance: A Youthful Rebuild Begins

The Springboks have set their sights firmly on the 2027 Rugby World Cup, with coach Rassie Erasmus revealing a youthful squad as part of a long-term rebuilding effort. Despite recent World Cup triumphs, the South African team is prioritizing development over immediate results, aiming to field a significantly different lineup capable of securing a third consecutive Webb Ellis Cup victory.

The Springboks Set their Sights on 2027 World Cup Glory

BBC Rugby Union, 10 May 2024

Rassie Erasmus has made it clear that the Springboks are already looking ahead to the 2027 Rugby World Cup, with the ultimate goal of securing a third consecutive Webb Ellis Cup triumph. This long-term ambition could impact their overall win-rate in the coming years, as Erasmus shifts his focus to developing the next generation and building a more balanced squad capable of peaking at the global showpiece in Australia.

The initial 35-man squad for the upcoming season features a youthful and inexperienced flavor, with 12 uncapped players included. Additionally, there are several young talents who missed out on last year’s World Cup, each with 10 or fewer international caps. Alongside these newcomers, a group of more experienced specialists, such as Bath star Thomas du Toit, will have key roles to play in the upcoming clashes against Ireland and throughout the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks’ season-opener against Wales, the one-off match against Portugal, and the end-of-year tour to the United Kingdom will provide Erasmus with ample opportunities to assess this diverse group of players. Injuries to key players like Damian Willemse, Kurt-Lee Arendse, and Cheslin Kolbe have further necessitated the inclusion of exciting prospects, such as Edwill van der Merwe and Quan Horn, who will be eager to seize their chance.

“Flyhalf has been a significant talking point, with Handré Pollard unavailable for the Wales clash and the loss of experienced options like Elton Jantjies, Morné Steyn, and Frans Steyn in recent years. Manie Libbok, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, and Jordan Hendrikse are among the young talents vying for the coveted No. 10 jersey, as Erasmus seeks to build depth in this crucial position.”

The Springboks’ loose forward department also features a mix of experienced campaigners and promising newcomers, including the likes of Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Hanekom, and Evan Roos, all of whom will be eager to stake their claim for a spot in the 2027 World Cup squad.

While the team that won the 2019 and 2023 World Cups was renowned for its experience, Erasmus has prioritized development over the past six years, ensuring that more than 100 players have been involved with the Boks across various games and training camps. This strategy, though costly in terms of results, has positioned the Springboks well for the future, as they prepare to field a significantly different squad in Australia four years from now.

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