The World Cup Centurions: South Africa

The World Cup Centurions: South Africa

The 2023 Rugby World Cup is only a few days away and Eben Etzebeth with his South African chargers will look to become the second team to defend their title since New Zealand back to back titles in 2011 and 2015, while being the first to hold four titles.

However, before the tournament kicks off, we at Ultimate Rugby have decided to honour the veterans of the this years competition who go into the tournament boasting 100 international test rugby appearances.

There are over 90 current and former players who make up this elite club, originating from 14 different countries, with eight of those conutries being represented in this world cup. 

South Africa's enforcer Eben Etzebeth is currently the most capped active Springbok and the only centurion in the South African world cup sqaud. 

Born on 29 October 1991, Etzebeth was marked out as a player of huge promise from an early age when playing for Hoërskool Tygerberg in Cape Town and he entered the Western Province youth structures in 2009, featuring in the Under-18 Craven Week tournament.

In 2011, his career moved up a gear when he was part of the UCT Ikey Tigers side which won the Varsity Cup, however injury stalled his progress in the second half of the year and he was unable to play any part in the 2011 Currie Cup.

Eben Etzebeth was a member of the South Africa Under 20 team that competed in the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship in Italy where the Baby Boks finished in a disappointing 5th place.

Etzebeth was called up to the Springbok squad for the first time by new head coach Heyneke Meyer ahead of the three match series against England in June 2012.[18]

He made his first appearance in the second row alongside fellow debutant Juandré Kruger on 9 June 2012 at Kings Park Stadium, Durban. South Africa were victorious by 22–17. Despite suffering from some injury setbacks along the way, Etzebeth has maintained his position as first choice in the number 4 jersey throughout his Springbok career.

Etzebeth played his 50th test for South Africa, against Australia in round 3 of the 2016 Rugby Championship and became the youngest South African player in history to reach the milestone, being only 24 years old at the time. The match was a disappointment for the Springboks and for Etzebeth, who was yellow-carded in the 41st minute of their 17–23 loss against the Wallabies.

Etzebeth was named in South Africa's squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[22] South Africa went on to win the tournament, defeating England in the final.

On the 16th July 2022, Etzebeth won his 100th cap for South Africa in a 30–14 win over Wales becoming only the 7th Springbok to reach this milestone.

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