Even if they are losing head coach Jacques Nienaber and assistant Felix Jones, there is no reason the Springboks cannot dominate world rugby for the foreseeable future with the squad they currently have and the players waiting on a chance for national honours.
Thanks to their experimentation, even in a Rugby World Cup year, Nienaber, director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and the assistant coaches have built up a formidable squad of over 50 players who have contributed massively to winning a record fourth Webb Ellis Cup and back-to-back world titles.
In some of these performances, the team weren’t even at their best – yet France, England and the All Blacks could not beat them.
That says a lot about the kind of fighters these sides came up against in France.
Blessed with experience
And all of them, bar the retiring Duane Vermeulen, will still be available for the Springboks when the international season kicks off next year.
That is an exciting prospect for South Africans, and arguably a daunting one for whoever will step up to face the four-time World Cup winners.
With Vermeulen still at the Boks, Jasper Wiese has put his hand up to take over the No 8 jersey.
It was probably just his final hurrah for the Springboks that kept Vermeulen ahead of Wiese.
But if Wiese is not firing in the future, a host of talents will eagerly wait to take that jersey from him, just as he hunted Vermeulen’s spot.
If you think about it, players like the Stormers’ Evan Roos and Sikhumbuzo Notshe at the Sharks have had a taste, and they surely want more international rugby.
But there are also other youngsters like Francke Horne (Lions), Phepsi Buthelezi (Sharks) and Cameron Hanekom (Bulls) who are biting at the heels of the above-mentioned players.
There is an abundance of successors to Vermeulen, but the Boks will first need to see if they have that “warrior” in them to get there. And with this, Erasmus and the other coaches will fine-pick the players.
All about the team
Deon Davids, the Bok assistant coach, described being a “warrior” in the set-up as someone who puts aside their ego for the collective.
“You align yourself to how you can influence making this team better, whether it is on the field or by assisting someone else in the squad. They must understand in order for this team to work, it’s not only about yourself, but the whole team.”
Those words of Davids ring true to what transpired over the past two World Cup tournaments – especially the one recently in France – in this squad.
Those players who fit the bill of being a “warrior” made it to the championship, and others who were tested and found wanting did not.
With the depth in South Africa, there will be no problem identifying the best players, especially looking at the next tournament in 2027.
But will they be the right fit to take this team forward?
One team, one goal
The same goes for any new coaches coming in. The current crop put their differences aside and let go of egos, with one goal in mind – to make and keep the Boks the best in the world.
It should not be that difficult to sell the Bok philosophy to prospective coaches.
If as little as possible change happens in the set-up in the new season next year, there is no reason the Springboks cannot follow up their World Cup success with wins in the mid-year Tests – set to be against Ireland – the Rugby Championship against the southern hemisphere teams, and November Tests in Europe.
South Africa possess the players to make that step up if called upon. They should, with the depth at their disposal, be at the top of the rugby tree until at least the next World Cup in Australia. The only thing that can derail them is their ego.