RUGBY WORLD CUP Springboks All Blacks

The Springboks celebrate the World Cup. Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/ AFP

Player ratings: Best Springboks of 2023!

As the year draws to a close, we hand out some key player ratings to the top Springboks who excelled during an unforgettable 2023 season.

RUGBY WORLD CUP Springboks All Blacks

The Springboks celebrate the World Cup. Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/ AFP

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that the Springboks won as many as 11 out of 13 games in 2023, culminating with a thrilling victory over the All Blacks in the World Cup final.

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This generation of Springboks have cemented their status as the best “Cup” team of all-time, proving to posses the most incredible Big Match Temperament in a four year cycle that has returned two World Cup titles and a British & Irish Lions series victory.

Looking back on 2023, and in no particular order, we hand out some special ratings to the players we feel truly stood out for the Springboks this year.

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Damian Willemse: The Springboks’ new No 15

When the 2023 Test season started, many might have felt that Willemse was in line to compete for the No 10 jersey after finishing 2022 as the team’s designated flyhalf.

Willemse did start at 10 in the loss to the All Blacks in Auckland in mid July earlier this year, but from there the Springboks identified that he was best suited to a role at fullback.

In the end, the 25-year-old started seven Tests in the No 15 jersey, which included all the World Cup playoff games as he cracked the nod ahead of veteran Willie le Roux.

It was yet another unforgettable season for Willemse as he consistently excelled, displaying immense maturity and composure, while also adding a real threat with his game-breaking attacking ability.

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He has now already racked up 39 Test appearances, and considering he has youth on his side, there is no doubt that he could go on to become another Springbok centurion.

Some unexpected highlights also included his brilliant call for a scrum after taking a ‘mark’ within the Springboks’ 22 during the quarter-final against France, while his post-match celebrations after the World Cup final were absolutely epic.

Indeed, it was a year to celebrate for Willemse, who has truly come of age.

Our rating: 8/10

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