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Great Britain

Springboks legend Schalk Brits gives a unique lowdown on his South Africa team-mates

Schalk Brits, after an inspirational decade with Saracens, is arguably the Premiership's greatest overseas player. 

As an authoritative voice on the South African squad, Brits has opened up on the quirks of each of his team-mates. 

Here, he provides Sportsmail with a guide to his fellow Springboks ahead of facing England in Saturday's final...

Springboks legend Schalk Brits gives the lowdown on South Africa's squad ahead of the final

1. Tendai Mtawarira - PROP 

Age: 34 Caps: 116

The 5th South African front-rower to play at three World Cups.

There's a reason they call him 'The Beast'. He's one aggressive individual, yet off the field he's a sweet character. 

He carries hard, scrums hard and is uncompromising. This is one of his best years. He had to fight for his position and look where he is now.

Tendai Mtawarira is nicknamed 'The Beast' but is a completely different character off the pitch

2. Bongi Mbonambi - HOOKER 

Age: 28 Caps: 35 

Three World Cup tries from the back of the rolling maul. Yet to miss a tackle.

He is the cannonball man. Just runs head down into everything. He could go through walls! 

His skill-set has come on a huge amount and his work-rate is fantastic. 

The cannonball just keeps coming. He's a quiet person who gets on with his job, but he's another one who switches from a quiet guy to an aggressor on the field.

'Cannonball' Bongi Mbonambi's work-rate is a major asset and his skill-set has also improved

3. Frans Malherbe - PROP 

Age: 28 Caps: 37 

At 6ft 3in he is the tallest prop in Saturday's final.

The farmer. He's a big boy. Gets on with his job. He's a good guy — like most front-rowers. Very funny but very softly spoken. 

If your tighthead doesn't go forward, your scrum doesn't go forward, so that says a lot about his capabilities. 

Our tightheads have been outstanding in this World Cup — that's why they earn the big money!

Frans Malherbe is a dependable performer and has been hugely impressive at the World Cup

4. Eben Etzebeth - SECOND ROW 

Age: 27 Caps: 84 

He can bench-press 385lb (27½st)

He is our enforcer, our dominator. 

When things are tough, he is the bruiser in the middle of it all. That is Eben. 

He enforces our physicality — if he goes back, our team goes back. He's one strong individual. He loves the gym and loves his biceps! He's a big bloke.

Eben Etzebeth enforces South Africa's physicality and is the bruiser in the middle of the action

5. Lood de Jager - SECOND ROW 

Age: 26 Caps: 44 

22nd start alongside Etzebeth — the third most-used Bok lock pair.

We give him a lot of stick, but he brings it on himself! 

He can play out the back and he's just a very skilled player. Eben and Lood are our Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield.

Lood de Jager manages to deliver all-action performances for South Africa despite his size

6. Siya Kolisi - FLANKER 

Age: 28 Caps: 49 

Captain. Will be the 37th Springbok to hit the 50-cap mark.

Our capitano. To have a guy who has done what he has done, coming from where he was — in the Zwide township outside Port Elizabeth, where people are fighting for their next meal — is incredible. 

He is an inspirational leader for us. 

There's a bigger picture with Siya — he brings hope and is a role model for our country. He shows that if you really put heart and soul into something, you can make it happen. As a player he is under-rated. He carries well, tackles well and his work-rate is phenomenal.

South Africa's captain Siya Kolisi is an inspirational leader - he carries and tackles very well

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit - FLANKER

Age: 27 Caps: 54 

Has made 50 tackles — more than any Springbok at this World Cup.

The silent assassin. He's a workhorse who just keeps going hard. If you ask him to run through a brick wall, off he goes. 

He doesn't compromise, he doesn't complain, he just keeps putting his body on the line. 

He's exactly the sort of player that you want with you in a team.

Flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit works extremely hard and is ready to put his body on the line

8. Duane Vermeulen - No 8

Age: 33 Caps: 53 

Has averaged four metres per carry from 25 carries at this World Cup.

He is called 'Thor' after the Avengers character. They look very similar, but we tend to focus on the last Avengers where Thor is very fat! 

He's a rock in our pack who is so good at maul-setting and driving, and stopping mauls. 

The bloke is an unbelievable rugby player and he puts it out there every weekend. To keep going forward like he does is fantastic.

Duane Vermeulen is another player who works extremely hard and is effective at maul-setting

9. Faf de Klerk - SCRUM-HALF 

Age: 28 Caps: 29 

58 kicks from hand at this World Cup.

Faffy... he's Ken from Barbie! 

He's been getting a lot of stick about his kicking but that is the way we want to play. He is following the game-plan. 

He bosses things really well. I don't know why he always wants to pick a fight with the biggest guy on the field, but that is his personality. 

In the team environment, he is so good. He takes the mickey the whole time. He's very funny, he's an in-your-face sort of character.

Faf de Klerk helps South Africa to dominate play and has a good personality off the pitch

10. Handre Pollard - FLY-HALF 

Age: 25 Caps: 47 

46 points at this World Cup so far — the Boks' top scorer.

He will hate me for saying this but we call him 'KP' because he's the kingpin. He is the one who makes our team tick and gets us on the front foot. 

Some of the guys also call him 'Kamikaze', because he doesn't care how big the opposition player is, he will just run straight at him. 

I saw a Test match where he tackled All Black back-rower Kieran Read hard and flipped him over. That is not normal for a fly-half. He's a tough kid.

Fly-half Handre Pollard is fearless and is nicknamed 'KP' due to him being the team's kingpin

11. Makazole Mapimpi - WING 

Age: 29 Caps: 13 

Joint second top try-scorer at this World Cup with five.

He just keeps going. 

He's probably the quickest guy in our team, but he doesn't look like it! Even if he's 2cm from the floor, he keeps his feet moving and keeps going — and he has scored some beautiful tries at this World Cup. 

He started off very quietly with the Boks and sometimes there is a communication gap, but he understands what we're saying.

Makazole Mapimpi is probably South Africa's quickest player and has progressed very well

12. Damian de Allende - CENTRE 

Age: 27 Caps: 46 

Has made more carries — 53 — than any other South Africa player.

Everyone sees him as a battering ram because he always carries hard, but that is just him playing to our game-plan. 

He is actually one of the most skilled players I've ever seen. 

He can pass 20 metres left and right and stab the ball through with his feet. People might not always see the skill-set that he has but he is a very talented player. He is one of the rocks in our back line.

Damian de Allende is an extremely skilled player but adapts his game to South Africa's style

13. Lukhanyo Am - CENTRE

Age: 25 Caps: 14 

Has made 175 metres through the centre at this World Cup.

He came to Saracens five or six years ago, just for experience. 

He actually used to do the pee measuring, to see how dehydrated you are, so I used to take the mickey out of him back then! He's grown so much as a player. 

He does miss a middle finger on one hand, well, half of it, but it doesn't stop him being really skilful. He's also a man who moves in the dark — he's a ladies' man!

Centre Lukhanyo Am is a really skilful player but is without half of a middle finger on one hand

14. Cheslin Kolbe - WING

Age: 25 Caps: 13 

16 defenders beaten on the wings with his steps.

The jet-boots on this bloke are phenomenal. Before he went to Toulouse we knew about his attacking capabilities, but it is unbelievable how much he has grown as a player in the last year. 

He's always been a good kicker and stepper, but defensively he is fantastic now. He's a great individual talent for us. 

He won an Olympic medal with our sevens team in Rio three years ago. From a personality perspective, he's quite quiet.

Over the last year Cheslin Kolbe has progressed immensely and is now excellent defensively

15. Willie le Roux - FULL BACK

Age: 30 Caps: 60

Six handling errors in Japan and only 75 per cent tackle success.

Our magic man, who has become a pillar of strength at the back. He's a bomb-diffuser under the high balls. 

He might look pretty serious or even cross on the pitch, but outside of rugby he is completely the opposite. He is extremely funny and a joy to be around. 

We went to the same school and are good friends.

Willie le Roux is hugely effective at dealing with high balls and is a pillar of strength at the back

Rassie Erasmus - Head coach

To take the team from where it was a year-and-a-half ago to where it is now is pretty spectacular. 

I was quite nervous about joining up with the Boks again, because they were as low as they'd ever been, but where we are now is a compliment not just to Rassie, but the whole coaching team. He's been phenomenal and it is amazing, the job he has done.

Head coach Rassie Erasmus deserves so much praise for transforming the South Africa team