There are forty-five South African rugby players currently playing in the England Premiership Rugby tournament.
The players are spread across ten clubs, with Sale Sharks having the highest number. Seven players have been in recent Springbok squads.
This article gives you the list of South African rugby players in each Premiership club. We’ll also dive into the reasons why so many move to play in England.
South African Players In Premiership Rugby
This table gives you the list for the 2021/22 season.
|Exeter Chiefs||Don Armand||Lock|
|Exeter Chiefs||Jacques Vermeulen||Back row|
|Exeter Chiefs||Jannes Kirsten||Back row|
|Gloucester||Ruan Ackermann||Back row|
|Leicester Tigers||François Van Wyk||Prop|
|Leicester Tigers||Cyle Brink||Back row|
|Leicester Tigers||Hanro Liebenberg||Back row|
|Leicester Tigers||Jasper Wiese||Back row||Y|
|Leicester Tigers||Marco Van Staden||Back row|
|Leicester Tigers||Kobus Van Wyk||Winger|
|Leicester Tigers||Jaco Taute||Fullback|
|London Irish||Allan Dell||Prop|
|London Irish||Marcel Van Der Merwe||Prop|
|London Irish||Mike Willemse||Hooker|
|London Irish||Benhard Janse Van Rensburg||Fullback|
|Newcastle Falcons||Richard Palframan||Prop|
|Newcastle Falcons||Kyle Cooper||Hooker|
|Newcastle Falcons||Philip Van Der Walt||Back row|
|Newcastle Falcons||Louis Schreuder||Scrum half|
|Northampton Saints||David Ribbans||Lock|
|Northampton Saints||Juarno Augustus||Back row|
|Northampton Saints||Courtnall Skosan||Winger|
|Sale Sharks||Coenie Oosthuizen||Prop||Y|
|Sale Sharks||Nick Schonert||Prop|
|Sale Sharks||Akker Van Der Merwe||Hooker|
|Sale Sharks||Jp Du Preez||Lock|
|Sale Sharks||Lood De Jager||Lock||Y|
|Sale Sharks||Cobus Wiese||Back row|
|Sale Sharks||Dan Du Preez||Back row||Y|
|Sale Sharks||Jean-Luc Du Preez||Back row||Y|
|Sale Sharks||Jono Ross||Back row|
|Sale Sharks||Faf De Klerk||Scrum half||Y|
|Sale Sharks||Robert Du Preez||Fly-half|
|Sale Sharks||Rohan Janse Van Rensburg||Center|
|Saracens||Ivan Van Zyl||Scrum half|
|Saracens||Ruben De Haas||Scrum half|
|Wasps||Michael Van Vuuren||Hooker|
|Wasps||Sebastian De Chaves||Lock|
|Wasps||Nizaam Carr||Back row|
|Wasps||Francois Hougaard||Scrum half|
|Worcester Warriors||Kyle Hatherell||Back row|
|Worcester Warriors||Francois Venter||Center|
|Worcester Warriors||Duhan Van Der Merwe||Winger|
Why Are There So Many South Africans In English Rugby Clubs?
There are several reasons why South African rugby players want to play in England.
They can command a significantly higher salary in the Premiership than when playing in South African competitions. You can compare the average salaries with these articles:
Problems with South African rugby structures
There has been considerable upheaval within the South African Rugby Union and its clubs.
Some clubs joined the PRO14 in Europe – a tournament that traditionally includes clubs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Italy.
This didn’t work out for the Cheetahs who ended up being ejected. This kind of uncertainty over the future of the clubs may have led players to seek a more established environment.
Less social and political unrest
South Africa has been going through a period of instability in recent years.
England has its own problems, but there is less risk of financial or crime issues in the country.
Which England Premiership Club Has The Most South African Players?
It’s natural for rugby players to head to places where they know a former teammate or even a family member is already there.
“Saffacens” was the nickname given by rival supporters to a former Premiership champion i.e. Saracens.
This was because they seemed to have plenty of big and super-talented Springboks on their books. However, the Saracens numbers have dwindled.
Sale Sharks has the most South African players in the Premiership.
Sale Sharks has overtaken every other club with the sheer number of players from the southern hemisphere.
Most of them seem to be called Du Preez. At least three of these are brothers (I’m not sure about the fourth).
Sale has a grand total of twelve South Africans. With just a few more, they could field their own team and compete in the URC!