South Africa endured a torrid 2016
The decline of South African rugby has been much lamented as the once mighty Springboks suffered a torrid year in 2016.
Allister Coetzee's side lost 8 of their 12 test matches in 2016 including a humbling 57-15 reverse to New Zealand in Durban in the Rugby Championship.
They also lost their first ever test match at home against Ireland in June although they eventually went on to win a closely fought series 2-1.
Home wins over Argentina and Australia papered over the cracks of an underwhelming Rugby Championship campaign before they headed north.
They lost to England, Italy and Wales on successive weekends and have dropped to 6th in the World Rugby rankings.
There is some good news on the horizon however as out-half Handre Pollard is expected to be fit for the start of the 2017 Super Rugby campaign.
Pollard returns to training. In his final phase of rehab and should be fully fit and ready by January 2017 pic.twitter.com/MrajrSDypk— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) December 7, 2016
Since 2014, the talented midfielder has amassed 20 caps for the Springboks and 188 international test points.
He was ruled out of the game for an extended period of time after rupturing knee ligaments in an training ground incident in February. At the time he was recovering from another injury where doctors advised him of the possibility of having an arm amputated.
The 2017 Super Rugby season is due to kick off in February.