Joe van Niekerk
Full names: Johann Christiaan
Date of birth: 14 May 1980
Place of birth: Port Elizabeth
School: King Edward VII School (KES)
Springbok no: 719
Debut test province: Lions
Physical: 1.93m, 108kg
Current age: 43

Test summary: Tests: 52 Tries: 10
First Test: 21 Jul 2001 Age:21 Reserve against New Zealand at Newlands, Cape Town
Last Test: 5 Jun 2010 Age:30 Eighthman against Wales at Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff
Test history:
21 Jul 200121ReserveNew ZealandLose: 3-12 Newlands, Cape TownLions
28 Jul 200121ReserveAustraliaWin: 20-15 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaLions
25 Aug 200121ReserveNew ZealandLose: 15-26 Eden Park, AucklandLions
10 Nov 200121ReserveFranceLose: 10-20 Stade de France, ParisLions
17 Nov 200121FlankItalyWin: 54-26 Luigi Ferraris Stadium, GenoaLions
01 Dec 200121EighthmanUSAWin: 43-20 Robertson Stadium, UH, HoustonLions
08 Jun 200222ReserveWalesWin: 34-19 Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinLions
15 Jun 200222ReserveWalesWin: 19-8 Newlands, Cape TownLions
29 Jun 200222ReserveArgentinaWin: 49-29 P.A.M. Brink Stadium, SpringsLions
06 Jul 200222FlankSamoaWin: 60-181 tryLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaLions
20 Jul 200222FlankNew ZealandLose: 20-41 WestPac Stadium, WellingtonLions
27 Jul 200222FlankAustraliaLose: 27-38 Wooloongabba, BrisbaneLions
10 Aug 200222FlankNew ZealandLose: 23-30 Kingspark, DurbanLions
17 Aug 200222FlankAustraliaWin: 33-311 tryEllispark, JohannesburgLions
09 Nov 200222EighthmanFranceLose: 10-301 tryStade Velodrome, MarseillesLions
16 Nov 200222EighthmanScotlandLose: 6-21 Murrayfield, EdinburghLions
23 Nov 200222EighthmanEnglandLose: 3-53 Twickenham, LondonLions
02 Aug 200323FlankAustraliaLose: 9-29 Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park), BrisbaneLions
09 Aug 200323FlankNew ZealandLose: 11-19 Carisbrook, DunedinLions
11 Oct 200323FlankUruguayWin: 72-61 trySubiaco Oval, PerthLions
18 Oct 200323FlankEnglandLose: 6-25 Subiaco Oval, PerthLions
24 Oct 200323EighthmanGeorgiaWin: 46-191 trySydney Football Stadium (Aussie stadium), SydneyLions
01 Nov 200323FlankSamoaWin: 60-101 trySuncorp Stadium (Lang Park), BrisbaneLions
24 Jul 200424ReserveNew ZealandLose: 21-23 Lancaster Park (Jade stadium), ChristchurchWP
31 Jul 200424ReserveAustraliaLose: 26-30 Subiaco Oval, PerthWP
14 Aug 200424EighthmanNew ZealandWin: 40-26 Ellispark, JohannesburgWP
21 Aug 200424EighthmanAustraliaWin: 23-191 tryKingspark, DurbanWP
06 Nov 200424EighthmanWalesWin: 38-361 tryMillenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffWP
13 Nov 200424EighthmanIrelandLose: 12-17 Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), DublinWP
20 Nov 200424EighthmanEnglandLose: 16-32 Twickenham, LondonWP
27 Nov 200424EighthmanScotlandWin: 45-10 Murrayfield, EdinburghWP
04 Dec 200424ReserveArgentinaWin: 39-7 Velez Sarsfield Stadium, Buenos AiresWP
11 Jun 200525ReserveUruguayWin: 134-3 Basil Kenyon Stadium, East LondonWP
25 Jun 200525ReserveFranceWin: 27-13 Boet Erasmus, Port ElizabethWP
09 Jul 200525ReserveAustraliaLose: 12-30 Stadium Australia, SydneyWP
23 Jul 200525EighthmanAustraliaWin: 33-20 Ellispark, JohannesburgWP
30 Jul 200525FlankAustraliaWin: 22-16 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaWP
06 Aug 200525EighthmanNew ZealandWin: 22-16 Newlands, Cape TownWP
20 Aug 200525EighthmanAustraliaWin: 22-19 Subiaco Oval, PerthWP
27 Aug 200525EighthmanNew ZealandLose: 27-31 Carisbrook, DunedinWP
10 Jun 200626EighthmanScotlandWin: 36-16 Kingspark, DurbanWP
17 Jun 200626EighthmanScotlandWin: 29-15 Boet Erasmus, Port ElizabethWP
24 Jun 200626FlankFranceLose: 26-36 Newlands, Cape TownWP
15 Jul 200626FlankAustraliaLose: 0-49 Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park), BrisbaneWP
22 Jul 200626ReserveNew ZealandLose: 17-35 WestPac Stadium, WellingtonWP
05 Aug 200626ReserveAustraliaLose: 18-20 Stadium Australia, SydneyWP
21 Jun 200828ReserveItalyWin: 26-0 Newlands, Cape TownLions
05 Jul 200828EighthmanNew ZealandLose: 8-19 WestPac Stadium, WellingtonLions
12 Jul 200828EighthmanNew ZealandWin: 30-28 Carisbrook, DunedinLions
09 Aug 200828ReserveArgentinaWin: 63-92 triesEllispark, JohannesburgLions
23 Aug 200828ReserveAustraliaLose: 15-27 Kingspark, DurbanLions
05 Jun 201030EighthmanWalesWin: 34-31 Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffToulon

Top 50 Boks: No 49 – Joe van Niekerk :

Big Joe” received the rare distinction of being called-up straight from the South Africa U21 team to the Springbok squad in 2001 before even appearing in the Currie Cup or Super 12. The naturally gifted Van Niekerk, who made his international debut against the All Blacks in Cape Town on July 21, 2001, was plagued by injury throughout his senior career. When healthy, however, he was considered one of the leading back rowers in world rugby.

He was a SA Young Player of the Year nominee in 2001 and went on to win the coveted SA Player of the Year award in what was his defining season in 2002. He was nominated for the award again the following year – where he lost out to Ashwin Willemse – and was a member of Jake White’s Tri-Nations winning squad in 2004, where he scored a crucial try in the Boks’ narrow 23-19 win over the Wallabies in the series finale in Durban. He won his 50th Test cap as an impact player off the bench against Argentina and scored two quick tries to help South Africa to a commanding 63-9 victory. Van Niekerk would go on to play his final Test a fortnight later in the 15-27 loss to Australia in Durban on August 23, 2008.


  • SA Young Player of the Year nominee, 2001
  • SARFU Award for Individual Achievement, 2001
  • SA Player of the Year, 2002
  • SA Player of the Year nominee, 2003
  • Member of the Springbok Tri-Nations winning squad, 2004