Lood de Jager
Full names: Lodewyk
Date of birth: 17 Dec 1992
Place of birth: Alberton
School: Hugenote, Springs
Springbok no: 856
Debut test province: Cheetahs
Physical: 2.05m, 125kg
Current age: 31

Test summary: Tests: 66 Tries: 5
First Test: 14 Jun 2014 Age:21 Reserve against Wales at Kingspark, Durban
Last Test: 15 Jul 2023 Age:30 Lock against New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Test history:
14 Jun 201421ReserveWalesWin: 38-16 Kingspark, DurbanCheetahs
21 Jun 201421ReserveWalesWin: 31-30 Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitCheetahs
28 Jun 201421LockScotlandWin: 55-62 triesNelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethCheetahs
16 Aug 201421LockArgentinaWin: 13-6 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaCheetahs
23 Aug 201421LockArgentinaWin: 33-31 Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, SaltaCheetahs
06 Sep 201421ReserveAustraliaLose: 23-24 Subiaco Oval, PerthCheetahs
13 Sep 201421ReserveNew ZealandLose: 10-14 WestPac Stadium, WellingtonCheetahs
22 Nov 201421ReserveItalyWin: 22-6 Stadio Euganeo, PaduaCheetahs
29 Nov 201421ReserveWalesLose: 6-12 Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffCheetahs
18 Jul 201522ReserveAustraliaLose: 20-24 Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park), BrisbaneCheetahs
25 Jul 201522LockNew ZealandLose: 20-27 Ellispark, JohannesburgCheetahs
08 Aug 201522LockArgentinaLose: 25-371 tryKingspark, DurbanCheetahs
19 Sep 201522LockJapanLose: 32-341 tryBrighton Community Stadium, BrightonCheetahs
26 Sep 201522ReserveSamoaWin: 46-6 Villa Park, BirminghamCheetahs
03 Oct 201522LockScotlandWin: 34-16 St James Park, NewcastleCheetahs
07 Oct 201522LockUSAWin: 64-0 Olympic Stadium, LondonCheetahs
17 Oct 201522LockWalesWin: 23-19 Twickenham, LondonCheetahs
24 Oct 201522LockNew ZealandLose: 18-20 Twickenham, LondonCheetahs
30 Oct 201522ReserveArgentinaWin: 24-13 Olympic Stadium, LondonCheetahs
11 Jun 201623LockIrelandLose: 20-26 Newlands, Cape TownCheetahs
20 Aug 201623LockArgentinaWin: 30-23 Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitCheetahs
27 Aug 201623LockArgentinaLose: 24-26 Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, SaltaCheetahs
10 Sep 201623LockAustraliaLose: 17-23 Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park), BrisbaneCheetahs
01 Oct 201623ReserveAustraliaWin: 18-10 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaCheetahs
08 Oct 201623ReserveNew ZealandLose: 15-57 Kingspark, DurbanCheetahs
12 Nov 201623LockEnglandLose: 21-37 Twickenham, LondonCheetahs
19 Nov 201623LockItalyLose: 18-20 Stadio Artemio Franchi, FlorenceCheetahs
26 Nov 201623LockWalesLose: 13-27 Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffCheetahs
24 Jun 201724ReserveFranceWin: 35-12 Ellispark, JohannesburgBlue Bulls
09 Sep 201724ReserveAustraliaDraw: 23-23 Perth Oval, PerthBlue Bulls
16 Sep 201724ReserveNew ZealandLose: 0-57 North Harbour Stadium, North Shore CityBlue Bulls
07 Oct 201724LockNew ZealandLose: 24-25 Newlands, Cape TownBlue Bulls
11 Nov 201724LockIrelandLose: 3-38 Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), DublinBlue Bulls
18 Nov 201724LockFranceWin: 18-17 Stade de France, ParisBlue Bulls
25 Nov 201724LockItalyWin: 35-6 Stadio Euganeo, PaduaBlue Bulls
02 Dec 201724LockWalesLose: 22-24 Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffBlue Bulls
03 Nov 201825ReserveEnglandLose: 11-12 Twickenham, LondonBlue Bulls
17 Nov 201825ReserveScotlandWin: 26-20 Murrayfield, EdinburghBlue Bulls
20 Jul 201926LockAustraliaWin: 35-171 tryEllispark, JohannesburgBlue Bulls
17 Aug 201926LockArgentinaWin: 24-18 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaBlue Bulls
28 Sep 201926LockNamibiaWin: 57-3 Toyota Stadium, AichiBlue Bulls
04 Oct 201926LockItalyWin: 49-3 Shizuoka Stadium, FukuroiBlue Bulls
20 Oct 201926LockJapanWin: 26-3 Tokyo Stadium, Chofu, TokyoBlue Bulls
27 Oct 201926LockWalesWin: 19-16 International Stadium Yokohama, YokohamaBlue Bulls
02 Nov 201926LockEnglandWin: 32-12 International Stadium Yokohama, YokohamaBlue Bulls
24 Jul 202128ReserveBritainLose: 17-22 Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSale
31 Jul 202128ReserveBritainWin: 27-9 Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSale
07 Aug 202128LockBritainWin: 19-16 Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownSale
14 Aug 202128LockArgentinaWin: 32-12 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethSale
21 Aug 202128LockArgentinaWin: 29-10 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port ElizabethSale
12 Sep 202128LockAustraliaLose: 26-28 Robina Stadium, Gold CoastSale
25 Sep 202128LockNew ZealandLose: 17-19 North Queensland Stadium, TownsvilleSale
02 Oct 202128LockNew ZealandWin: 31-29 Robina Stadium, Gold CoastSale
06 Nov 202128LockWalesWin: 23-18 Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffSale
13 Nov 202128ReserveScotlandWin: 30-15 Murrayfield, EdinburghSale
20 Nov 202128LockEnglandLose: 26-27 Twickenham, LondonSale
02 Jul 202229LockWalesWin: 32-29 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaWild Knights
16 Jul 202229LockWalesWin: 30-14 Cape Town Stadium, Cape TownWild Knights
06 Aug 202229LockNew ZealandWin: 26-10 Mbombela Stadium, NelspruitWild Knights
13 Aug 202229LockNew ZealandLose: 23-35 Ellispark, JohannesburgWild Knights
27 Aug 202229LockAustraliaLose: 17-25 Adelaide Oval, AdelaideWild Knights
03 Sep 202229LockAustraliaWin: 24-8 Sydney Football Stadium (Aussie stadium), SydneyWild Knights
17 Sep 202229LockArgentinaWin: 36-20 Estadio Libertadores de America, Buenos AiresWild Knights
24 Sep 202229LockArgentinaWin: 38-21 Kingspark, DurbanWild Knights
05 Nov 202229LockIrelandLose: 16-19 Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), DublinWild Knights
15 Jul 202330LockNew ZealandLose: 20-35 Mount Smart Stadium, AucklandSale

Lood de Jager 50th test : Gavin Rich

He didn’t win any trophies in his time as coach of the Springboks but Heyneke Meyer did blood a few players who have gone onto become World Cup winners and potential legends in the game, and one of those is Lood de Jager. The 2.05 metre tall and 125 kilogram lock plays his landmark 50th test for the Boks in Saturday’s return Castle Lager Rugby Championship test against Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha. It is a figure that he would have reached a lot quicker had it not been for the injuries that have interrupted a career that started in the opening test of the 2014 season against Wales in Durban.

De Jager only came onto the field late in the game as a replacement, but he impressed Meyer enough in his cameo appearance to make a prediction: De Jager would join Eben Etzebeth in being “the Springbok locks of the future”.


Perhaps that became a little more obvious two weeks later, when De Jager made his first start for the Boks on a day where ironically another current star who is central to the Bok success, flyhalf Handré Pollard, made his debut. That was in the 55-6 win over Scotland that saw the Bok depth going on show and coming through with flying colours, De Jager making hay in his first start by scoring two tries.

Significantly, when De Jager played his first game as a 21-year-old, he came on for Bakkies Botha and paired up with another legend, Victor Matfield. That underlines a point he made this week about the responsibility that goes with being a Bok second row forward.

“Obviously if you look at the history of South African rugby you will note that a lot of the real Springbok legends were locks, guys who have done really well,” said De Jager. “So there is always a high standard that you are very aware of and it is a massive honour to play in that position for South Africa, but also a massive responsibility. You need to make the jersey proud.”

De Jager has done that, and he and Etzebeth, together with Franco Mostert, have comfortably stepped into the boots that were filled by the Bakkies and Victor pairing. And as it turned out, it was De Jager who eventually pushed Matfield out as first choice Bok No5, although it was in 2015, in what can be considered Matfield’s second career following his return from two years of retirement.

Although he made his debut in 2014, it was 2015 that was De Jager’s breakthrough season. Indeed, one of the most commanding performances turned in by a Bok second row pairing during the modern era was when Etzebeth and De Jager together tormented the All Blacks in a Tri-Nations test at Ellis Park ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

The All Blacks eventually came back to win when changes were forced on the Boks by injury, but while Etzebeth and De Jager in particular were carrying it to the Kiwis, the then World Cup champions were in disarray.

Meyer should probably have settled on De Jager as first choice there and then but Matfield was back at the start of the World Cup, and it was only after that, following the loss to Japan and because of a slight injury that compromised Matfield, that he was back in the starting team.


Although the Boks came back strongly from the Japan defeat to finish third, that World Cup was not the happiest for the South Africans and might have been one of the downs that De Jager referred to as being part of his journey with the Boks over the past seven years.

“I have been fortunate to experience some real highs of Springbok rugby but unfortunately there have been some real lows that I have been part of too,” he recalled as he looked ahead to his 50th cap.

And it hasn’t been anything less than that if you look back at a period where at one point the Boks were ranked as low as seventh on the world rankings, and were beaten twice consecutively by the All Blacks by more than 50 points, before rising to become the best in the world in 2019.

But the real lows for De Jager have been the injuries that have repeatedly halted his career momentum and robbed him of the opportunity to contribute to the Bok cause.

“Obviously I have had a few more injuries than the normal guy. But that is just part of the journey and my journey. You suffer those setbacks and then you come back stronger. Every injury as bad as it is and disappointing as it is, is just part of your journey and you must see it like that.”

Injuries have kept the now England based De Jager from the field for long periods since the World Cup, and right now he probably boasts no more than about 200 minutes of playing time, according to Bok coach Jacques Nienaber’s reckoning, in the past several months. When he came onto the field in the first test against the British and Irish Lions, he was literally coming in cold.


So it wasn’t surprising he didn’t make the anticipated impact then, but he did make it in the second test. In fact, it might not be stretching it to suggest it was the strength De Jager brought to the fielding of the kick-offs, or his contribution in the lineouts, that turned the tide South Africa’s way after a difficult first half and paved the way for an eventual 27-9 victory.

He was less prominent as a ball carrier in the final decisive test a week later, but as he always does, he tackled himself to a standstill, and played more than just a bit part in preventing the Lions taking control like they should have during a dominant first half. Again, that was an important contribution to the eventual series win.

He’s starting to wrack up the game time now though, and the form he showed against Argentina last Saturday, where he could easily have been the man of the match were it not for the burgeoning form of Jasper Wiese, sent out an ominous signal to future Bok opponents.


Certainly Nienaber is pleased to see De Jager coming through again as he knows how important he is to the Bok cause.

“I was thinking this morning about why we are defending so well, and I realised a lot of the players have been with me in my various roles for a long time,” said Nienaber.

“There are about 16 of the current group who were coached by me in 2010, and even Joseph Dweba was coached by me in 2013. So they know how I operate and know my systems and have built up an understanding over a long period of time. Funnily enough, Lood is an exception. I only started working with him in 2016, when I did a short stint with the Boks before going to Munster.

“I must take my hat off to Lood for the ups and downs he has had to face and the manner in which he has come through them. He had a shoulder injury after the World Cup, then a leg injury, and now he is slowly getting back to full fitness. With 200 minutes behind him he has now had two and a half games of playing time, so he is getting there. I am very happy for him on reaching the 50 milestone. One of our strengths at the moment is that we have a lot of players now reaching that mark and that experience is invaluable.”


De Jager admits though that his outsized 28-year-old body has struggled to deal with the stresses it was put under in the quest to get him back up to speed. He’s not quite the old diesel tractor engine that Jake White equated Os du Randt with during the 2007 World Cup, but he reckons he’s not far away from it.

“Match fitness is hard to get when you not a naturally fit guy. I am not the best in training, and nothing comes close to match intensity and what you need in a game,” De Jager explained. “None of us really had the preparations ahead of the Lions series that we would like to have had. I also got Covid. But that is life, it is part of life and part of the journey, and it is what it is.

“With no pre-season to get properly up to speed it is difficult to get properly match fit, and for me it is tough sometimes,” he concluded.