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Where the World Champion Springboks will play in 2020

There will be little in the way of rest for a large number of Springboks joining up with their club’s in the northern hemisphere while others will plunge right into preparation for the Super Rugby season.

The Rugby World Cup is always a watershed moment in careers, and it is often the juncture after which players make big decisions like retirements and moves to new organizations.

Here we look at where the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup squad will be playing their rugby in the near future.

Retired

Prop Tendai Mtawarira and Loose Forward Francois Louw have announced their international retirements. Mtawarira also called time on his Sharks career but hinted that he may consider playing abroad. Louw was already with Bath and is expected to make a call on his club career at the end of the ongoing Premiership campaign.

France

Five Springboks will be plying their trade in the French Top 14 in the near future. Cheslin Kolbe and Francois Steyn had existing contracts with Toulouse and Montpellier, respectively. Handré Pollard will join Steyn at Montpellier once he has recovered from surgery on a broken cheekbone sustained in the Rugby World Cup final win. Former Sharks Prop Thomas du Toit joins Kolbe at Toulouse with the pair expected to be back in action before the end of November. Eben Etzebeth will join up with Toulon provided his legal battle with the SAHRC does not prove to be an impediment.

a46dd262 handre pollard - Where the World Champion Springboks will play in 2020

Pollard’s departure leaves a massive hole in the Bulls squad at number 10, a void they have looked to fill by recruiting former Bok flyhalf Morne Steyn from Top 14 outfit Stade Francais.

Japan

Japan hosted the Springboks Rugby World Cup triumph and many will soon return to the glorious scene to play professional rugby in the country.

Fullback Willie le Roux joined Toyota Verblitz in Japan’s Top League in May of this year after a two-year stint with Wasps in England and he will soon be joined by a raft of Boks.

Some of the players moving to Japan will be available for the latter stages of the Super Rugby campaign.

The Bulls have lost three of their Springboks to Japanese Rugby seeing RG Snyman join Honda Heat, Duane Vermeulen will don the colours of the Kubota Spears and Jesse Kriel has agreed to join the Canon Eagles.

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Duane Vermeulen (L) during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between New Zealand and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

The Lions lose Malcolm Marx to the Shining Arcs and Kwagga Smith to Yamaha Júbilo. 

Damian de Allende is one of those who could be available for some Super Rugby with the Stormers, provided he returns from a stint at Panasonic Wild Knights at full fitness.

England

Five members of the Springboks Rugby World Cup were drawn from the English Premiership and Lood de Jager will join their ranks once he recovers from a shoulder injury.

De Jager joins Faf de Klerk at the Sale Sharks a club who have gone on an unprecedented raid for South African talent, recruiting six members of their South African namesake’s 2019 Super Rugby Squad.

Vincent Koch is at Saracens although the organization is in trouble for salary cap breaches and it is unclear how that will effect the former Stormers front-ranker.

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South Africa’s scrum-half Cobus Reinach scores a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Canada at the Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe on October 8, 2019. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Cobus Reinach has impressed since being recalled from the international wilderness, showing he has learned plenty of new tricks in his time with the Northampton Saints.

Franco Mostert at Gloucester and Louw at Bath round out the World Cup winners contracted to Premiership clubs.

Super Rugby – Central Springbok contracts

A fair chunk of the squad will be named in the 2020 Super Rugby training squads that will be named this week.

Bulls

The Bulls have been hit hard by exits but can will still call on some World Cup-winning talent in 2020.

Veteran hooker Schalk Brits hasn’t announced his retirement but is not expected to be in the Bulls 2020 Super Rugby Squad.

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Bulls player Warrick Gelant (R) takes on Rebels defender Marika Koroibete in the Super Rugby match between Australia’s Melbourne Rebels and the Bulls of South Africa in Melbourne on May 17, 2019. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP)

That leaves the men from Pretoria with just Trevor Nyakane and Warrick Gelant sporting Rugby World Cup winners medals.

Lions

Incredibly Elton Jantjies is the only Rugby World Cup winner from the Lions Super Rugby franchise who will return to the franchise for the start of the 2020 campaign.

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HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 19: Elton Jantjies of the Lions kicks a penalty during the round 10 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Lions at FMG Stadium on April 19, 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Marx and Smith have left for Japan alongside another four Lions Super Rugby squad members. The Lions are also unlikely to have the services of Springbok winger Aphiwe Dyantyi, who has been banned for testing positive for a restricted substance.

Sharks

The Sharks will be delighted to keep hold of a trio of exciting Springbok backs and World Cup winners in Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi.

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Sbu Nkosi and Lukhanyo Am of the Sharks celebrate during the 2019 Super Rugby season. Photo: Lionel Ng/Getty Images

They bid farewell to the franchise’s most faithful servant in Mtawarira and fellow frontranker Du Toit who heads to France.

Stormers

For all the problems at Newlands at the moment they boast the most Rugby World Cup winners in their prospective 2020 squad.

Etzebeth will leave for France before the Super Rugby season kicks off at the end of January but unless something changes Seven World Cup winners will line up for the Stormers in 2020.

Damian Willemse - Where the World Champion Springboks will play in 2020
Damian Willemse of the Stormers. Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Bomb squad members Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe could be key to the Western Cape franchise’s hopes of a revival as much as the much lauded backrow pairing of Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit. Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse may yet combine as a 9-10 combination and the exciting pair serve as reminders of what the franchise can produce. Bongi Mbonambi was probably the most improved forward in the Springbok squad this year and could form a potent Stormers front row with his Bokmates.

Springbok World Cup winners clubs/franchises

Schalk Brits Bulls

Malcolm Marx  Shining Arcs

Bongi Mbonambi  Stormers

Thomas du Toit Toulouse

Steven Kitshoff  Stormers

Vincent Koch    Saracens

Frans Malherbe Stormers

Tendai Mtawarira   Retired

Trevor Nyakane Bulls

Lood de Jager Sale Sharks

Eben Etzebeth Toulon

Franco Mostert Gloucester

RG Snyman Honda Heat

Pieter-Steph du Toit Stormers

Siya Kolisi Stormers

Francois Louw Bath

Kwagga Smith  Yamaha Júbilo

Duane Vermeulen  Kubota Spears

Faf de Klerk Sale Sharks

Herschel Jantjies  Stormers

Cobus Reinach Northampton Saints

Elton Jantjies Lions

Handré Pollard Montpellier

Damian Willemse Stormers

Lukhanyo Am  Sharks

Damian de Allende  Panasonic Wild Knights

Jesse Kriel Canon Eagles

François Steyn Montpellier

Cheslin Kolbe Toulouse

Makazole Mapimpi Sharks

S’busiso Nkosi Sharks

Warrick Gelant Bulls

Willie le Roux Toyota Verblitz

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