springboks celebrate

South Africans celebrated well into Sunday after the Springboks claimed a record fourth title by defeating NZ in the Rugby World Cup final. Photo: SA Rugby website

Which South Africa team has no returning Springboks?

GUESS WHO? While most South African teams are gearing up to reintegrate their World Cup winners into the URC fold this coming week, there’s one side that doesn’t have that luxury because they didn’t produce any Springboks this year.

springboks celebrate

South Africans celebrated well into Sunday after the Springboks claimed a record fourth title by defeating NZ in the Rugby World Cup final. Photo: SA Rugby website

As the Springboks return to their respective franchises for the remainder of the URC campaign, find out which local team has no such luck.

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Four South African franchises — the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers — compete in the United Rugby Championship. And so far this season, none of them have performed well enough to be considered title contenders.

The Sharks are languishing at the bottom of the 16-team table, with the Lions coming in at No 13. Occupying ninth spot, the Stormers are in a slightly better position; while the Bulls are the best-ranked local team in seventh place after five rounds of action.

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WORLD CUP WINNERS TO THE RESCUE?

But for three of these sides, that could all change with the return of their Springbok contingents.

The Bulls have confirmed that Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, Marco van Staden and new recruit Willie le Roux have all reported for duty at Loftus this week.

The Sharks have already fast-tracked Lukhanyo Am into their lineup this past weekend and will be looking to their other Test stars — Eben Etzebeth, Ox Nche, Grant Williams and Jaden Hendrikse strengthen their ranks soon. Three other Boks — Makazole Mapimpi, Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch — are injured but could all be available for the Sharks towards the back-end of the season.

Over at the Stormers, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok will all be up for selection when the Stormers return home from their four-match tour of Europe later this month.

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NO SPRINGBOKS TO RESCUE LIONS

And then there’s the Lions, the only franchise that did not contribute to the the Springboks’ squad make-up this season.

As it turned out, that was no skin off the Springboks’ backs. But the fact that all the other local teams can call of their returning World Cup winners to potentially help them turn a corner, it must sting a bit for the Lions to know that not only are there no such luxuries available to them, but that they could fall even further down the pecking the order in terms of player-depth and subsequently the quality of on-field performance.

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Rugby World Cup 2023, Final: New Zealand v South Africa Springboks
All the highlights from arguably the most dramatic Rugby World Cup final ever as the Springboks edged the All Blacks in Paris. Photo: SA Rugby website