South Africa is a land of immense sporting talent and while we are fortunate in that a decent percentage of our stars do go on to represent our nation at the highest level – we’ve lost a few to our countries too.
When I heard that CJ Stander was going to ply his trade in Ireland I wasn’t worried – he was a star on the horizon and I was sure he’d get a call up to the Boks.
But then he didn’t. He fell off our radars and eventually played for Ireland.
He wasn’t the only one – we have lost many before and here’s a list of the 10 that hurt the most.
In no particular order.
1. Clyde Rathbone
Rathbone was born in Durban and eventually went on to play for the Wallabies. He scored a couple of tries against the Boks and was detested every time he did so.
2. Andrew Strauss
South Africans have always been well represented in the English cricket side and Trott aside – they all seem to immediately take on an aura of English arrogance.
3. Tiaan Strauss
Strauss won a Currie Cup with Western Province and then a Rugby World Cup with Australia.
4. Kevin Pietersen
One of England’s best ever – Pietersen scored 8181 runs for the Brits. He always seemed to perform his best when he played against the Proteas.
5. Brad Barritt
Barritt was a solid presence in the Sharks midfield for a number of years before trading the Durban coast for mud island. In no time at all he was capped and playing for the Roses.
6. Justin Rose
Born in Johannesburg – Rose’ parents moved to the UK at age 5. Shortly after arriving, Rose took up golf and as of this week is the world’s 6th best golfer.
7. Pieter De Villiers
Born in Malmesbury – De Villiers was widely regarded as technically one of the best props in his era. After retiring for France he went on to coach the Boks – along with Heyneke Meyer – and is still involved in Rassie’s mobi coaching unit.
8. Grant Elliott
Did Elliott have the most significant impact on his country of birth by being instrumental in the Black Caps knocking the Proteas out during the semi final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup? We’ll let you be the judge.
9. Ryan Ten Doeschate
Often referred to as “one of the finest cricketers the non-test playing cricket world has ever produced” – SA lost Ten Doeschate in 2003. Luckily the Proteas were never made to pay directly for the loss – England on the other hand… not so much.
10. Chris Froome
Ok, so Froome is technically not South African but he did spend a fair amount of his childhood in the Rainbow Nation. Froome of course is the winner of two Tour De Frances.
The one other player that is front and center in this writer’s mind is Steven Kitshoff. The ex Stormer has recently taken up a lucrative offer to play in the Top 14 and I fear, that if we don’t cap him soon, he will soon turn out for Les Bleus.
There you have it – 10 sporting stars SA has lost. Any other names you can think of? As always, we’d love to hear from you so hit us with a comment or a tweet @leftbacks and let’s have a debate!