South African Rugby

The South Africa national rugby union team, commonly known by their nickname of the Springboks, is the South African international rugby union team and is governed by the South African Rugby Union. By far the most popular sport in South Africa, the Springboks play in green and gold jerseys with white shorts, and their emblems are the Springbok and the King Protea. The team has been playing International Rugby since 30 July 1891, when they played their first Test match against a British Isles touring team.

Although South Africa was instrumental in the creation of the Rugby World Cup competition, the Springboks did not compete in the first two World Cups in 1987 and 1991 because of anti-apartheid sporting boycotts of South Africa. The team made its World Cup debut in 1995, when the newly democratic South Africa hosted the tournament.

The Springboks defeated the All Blacks 15–12 in the final, which is now remembered as one of the greatest moments in South Africa's sporting history, and a watershed moment in the post-Apartheid nation-building process. South Africa regained their title as champions 12 years later, when they defeated England 15–6 in the 2007 final. As a result of the 2007 World Cup tournament the Springboks were promoted to first place in the IRB World Rankings, a position they held until July the following year when New Zealand regained the top spot. They were named 2008 World Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

The Springboks also compete in the annual Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri-Nations), along with southern-hemisphere counterparts Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. They have won this championship on three occasions in sixteen years. They also play Test matches against the various rugby-playing nations. Despite currently being ranked third in the world by the International Rugby Board, they have on several occasions held the No.1 spot, and in recent years, have had a solid grip on the 2nd Spot.

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