In 2015 the Springbok squad contained at least 8 unplayable players over the age of thirty, That reduced the number of playable players to 23 and those players had to play every test in the series - even against the weakest teams they met. This was complicated by the Japan disaster in the first game in the series and the Springboks had to ensure of them being in the play-offs. It is part of history that by the end of that series the players were tired and dispirited since they had no rest matches during the series,
In the 2019 squad there were only 8 over 30 years-old players - but all were martchfit and most got rested during matches against weaker teams. That is why in the final the players looked fresh and relaxed against the English. Even the 38 year-old Brits - who were in the squad to actually help to keep the spirit of the players on a high did well in the two matches he played in.
However, that is not the point I would like to make - the point is what about further usage of the older players in the squad and here it is necessary to look at individual players - especially those over 29 and their potential continuation to the 2023 WC,
So where are we now with the 2019 over 29 players? Lets accept that most if not all these players will not make it to the 2023 WC performing on a level that would be acceptable. So who is likely to go out of contention in future:-
* Willie le Roux was 29 in 2019 and although he tried very hard to deliver the goods he did not really come out on top. Cannot see him going to the next WC.
* Mapimpi - also a 29 year old in 2019, He was very good in the 20198 WC series. There may be some doubt about whether he would make it to 2023 - However, Nkosi is a very good potential replacement,
* Francois Steyn would not make the 2023 WC and has announced his retirement from test rugby already. He is still playing for the Cheetahs - but is out of contention for further selection.
* Jantjies another 29 year old in 2019 - he never really made it on test level and he did not play at all in any of the key matches in the 2019 WC,
* Faf de Klerk - 29 in 2015 - but there is a good chance he will make it through to 2023.
* Duane Vermeulen was exceptional in the WC Final - but I belief he will retire from test rugby after the Lions tour next year,
* Francois Louw - already retired from all forms of rugby,
* Tendai Mtawarira - already retired from all forms of rugby
* Trevor Nyakana - another of the players unlikely to make it to 2023.
* Schalk Brits already retired from all forms of rugby.
* Franco Mostert - another 29 year-old in the 2019 WC was questionable in the WC and he contributed to the loss of the AB test, No chance of him proceeding to the WC.
* Francois Louw - already retired from all Rugby. So out of the 31 players.
The question always would be who would replace the above 12 players ion 2013. Another three years to wait for that answer - but I think that apart from the critical flyhalf position - there are enough alternatives coming through.
Mind you - unlike some members who apparently believe that age has no impact on player performances I doubt not that if has and not only in rugby, but also in cricket and tennis as examples. In the case of tennis there are a number of youngsters coming through and the fact is that they are rather quickly moving in on Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, The one guy standing out in that group of players is Andrey Rublev from Russia. He is only 22 and ranked no 8 in the world already,