The South Africa national rugby union team, commonly known as the Springboks (colloquially the Boks, Bokke or Amabokoboko), is the country’s national team governed by the South African Rugby Union. The Springboks play in green and gold jerseys with white shorts. Their emblem is a native antelope, the Springbok, which is the national animal of South Africa. The team has been representing South Africa in international rugby union since 30 July 1891, when they played their first test match against a British Isles touring team. They are currently the reigning World Champions and have won the World Cup on 3 occasions, (1995, 2007 and 2019). The Springboks are equalled with the All Blacks with 3 World Cup wins.
The team made its World Cup debut in 1995, when the newly democratic South Africa hosted the tournament. 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 international anti-apartheid sporting boycotts. The Springboks defeated the All Blacks 15–12 in the 1995 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 the 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. South Africa then won a third World Cup title, defeating England 32–12 in the 2019 final. As a result of this, the South African National Rugby Union Team were named 2020 World Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards for a second time.
The Springboks also compete in the annual Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri-Nations), along with their Southern Hemisphere counterparts Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. They have won the Championship on four occasions in Twenty-Four competitions and are the only team to have won a version of the competition and the Rugby World Cup in the same year.
For almost a century, South Africans have taken great pride in the performance of their national rugby union team, the Springboks. The team has gained widespread recognition around the world, even among non-rugby fans. Rugby union is a highly popular sport in South Africa, and it is often the preferred sport of the country’s most talented athletes.