Cape Town - With the tournament mere weeks away, former Springbok lock Bakkies Botha has picked his Rugby World Cup Dream Team.
VIDEO: Bakkies picks his RWC Dream Team
Botha, who played 85 Tests for the Springboks between 2002 and 2014, will captain the Barbarians in an international match in London on Saturday as the former Bulls stalwart’s rugby career winds down.
But at the moment the Rugby World Cup is on everyone’s minds and Botha joined the hype when he picked his Dream Team for the tournament on Thursday.
He has included five South Africans in the team, which also features four New Zealanders, three Irishmen, two Australians and one Argentine.
Not surprisingly, Botha has picked former team-mate Victor Matfield at lock, while also opting for four Springboks in the backline.
Wing Bryan Habana and centres Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende make Botha’s team, but perhaps his most surprising selection is that of Morne Steyn at flyhalf.
Steyn is currently behind Pat Lambie and Handre Pollard in the flyhalf pecking order at the Boks, but Botha would pick Steyn ahead of them.
“I still believe he’s one of the top flyhalves in the world and he doesn’t miss when it’s a penalty,” Botha said of Steyn.
Botha is also excited about the centre combination of De Allende and Kriel.
“They’re a phenomenal combination and definitely a force to be reckoned with in the future.”
Speaking of Habana, Botha said: “He’s an electrifying guy, he sometimes brings something special to the game and when you need him, he’s a game changer.”
Botha also explained his decision to pick the experienced lock duo of Matfield and Ireland’s Paul O’Connell.
“I truly believe that they are world class leaders and they bring something to a team that’s special.”
Botha will also lock down one final time with old partner in crime Matfield, when they play for the Barbarians against Argentina at Twickenham on November 21.
It will be the veteran lock duo’s final professional matches of their respective careers.
Bakkies Botha’s 2015 Rugby World Cup Dream Team:
15 Israel Folau (Australia), 14 Julian Savea (New Zealand), 13 Jesse Kriel (South Africa), 12 Damian de Allende (South Africa), 11 Bryan Habana (South Africa), 10 Morne Steyn (South Africa), 9 Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8 Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), 7 Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 6 David Pocock (Australia), 5 Victor Matfield (South Africa), 4 Paul O’Connell (Ireland), 3 Cian Healy (Ireland), 2 Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)
Barbarians team v Samoa:
15 Paul Williams (Stade Francais & Samoa), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Glasgow Warriors), 13 Ben Tapuai (Western Force & Australia), 12 Wynand Olivier (Montpellier & South Africa), 11 Dwayne Sweeney (Munakata Sanix Blues), 10 Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies & Australia), 9 Luke Burgess (Zebre & Australia), 8 Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls & South Africa), 7 Liam Gill (Reds & Australia), 6 Adam Thomson (Reds & New Zealand), 5 Luke Jones (Melbourne Rebels), 4 Bakkies Botha (South Africa - captain), 3 Carl Hayman (New Zealand), 2 Saia Fainga’a (Reds & Australia), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs & Australia)
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu (Waratahs), 17 Joshua Hohneck (Highlanders), 18 Maks van Dyk (Cheetahs), 19 Ali Williams (New Zealand), 20 Jacques Potgieter (Munakata Sanix Blues & South Africa), 21 Nic Groom (Stormers), 22 Mike Harris (Melbourne Rebels & Australia), 23 Tom English (Melbourne Rebels)