South Africa national Australian rules football team

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South Africa
Flag of South Africa.svg
Union AFL South Africa
Nickname(s) The Lions
First international
New Zealand New Zealand 163 – 1 South AfricaSouth Africa (2002)[1]
South Africa lining up for national anthem before a match against Ireland during a final in the 2008 AFIC

The South African national Australian rules football team (nicknamed the Lions) represent South Africa in the sport of Australian rules football.

The senior side represents the best South African born players as selected from clubs and leagues of AFL South Africa.

South Africa had its international debut at the 2002 Australian Football International Cup but the inexperienced team went through the tournament winless. It registered its first international win in the 2005 Australian Football International Cup against Japan.

Since 2007, through significant development funding and reciprocal tours, South Africa has regularly competed against junior teams from Australia. This resulted in a dramatic improvement at senior level, with South Africa defeating Ireland by a narrow margin to place 3rd overall in the 2008 AFIC.


The team is nicknamed the Lions, although at the 2002 International Cup and 2005 International Cup they were known as the Buffaloes.

They have worn a different jumper at each International Cup, with the first jumper green with gold and red wings, the second green with a gold yoke, and the current jumper based on the Flag of South Africa with a stylised Lion.


The team competed in the 2002 Australian Football International Cup in Melbourne, finishing in 11th place.

A much improved Buffaloes outfit (reflecting the development of junior footy in South Africa) achieved 8th ranking at the 2005 International Cup.

The Buffalo's best and fairest player (from the 2005 International Cup) is Steven Malinga.

Since 2006, the team has played annually against the "Flying Boomerangs" under 18 indigenous Australian squad, with tours alternating between South Africa and the Northern Territory in Australia.

On 14 April 2007, the Buffaloes played a historic match against Australia's AIS Under 17 squad at North West Cricket Stadium in Potchefstroom, South Africa.[2] The team was soundly defeated.

Later in that year, the Buffaloes defeated the touring Australian Convicts side.

In the warm-up to the 2008 Australian Football International Cup, South Africa gave a Melbourne-based multicultural team organised by the AFL and known as "Team Africa" a football lesson. Surprising many with their skill and pace, they went on to go undefeated through the first 3 pool rounds including a win against the USA and secured a finals berth against the 2005 runners-up Papua New Guinea. However Papua New Guinea were too good for the much improved South Africans.



International Cup[edit]

  • New Zealand 25.13 (163) def South Africa 0.1 (1)
  • Canada 4.11 (38) def South Africa 1.5 (11)
  • Samoa 12.15 (87) def South Africa 1.4 (10)
  • Ireland 15.8 (98) def South Africa 3.3 (21)
  • USA 20.12 (132) def South Africa 0.4 (4)


International Cup[edit]

  • USA 9.8 (62) def South Africa 4.10 (34)
  • South Africa 4.6 (30) def Japan 4.4 (28)
  • Ireland 10.9 (69) def South Africa 1.4 (10)
  • South Africa 12.12 (84) def Spain 2.1 (13)
  • Samoa 7.8 (50) def South Africa 3.3 (21)
  • Canada 3.9 (27) def South Africa 2.6 (18)



  • Flying Boomerangs 19.9 (123) def South Africa 2.11 (23)
  • Flying Boomerangs 11.10 (76) def South Africa 8.9 (57)

International Cup[edit]

  • South Africa 14.19 (103) def Team Africa 3.3 (21) (Practice)
  • South Africa 20.26 (146) def China 0.0 (0)
  • South Africa 9.11 (65) def Denmark 3.2 (20)
  • South Africa 8.10 (58) def USA 5.6 (36)
  • Papua New Guinea 9.8 (63) def South Africa 2.3 (15)
  • South Africa 4.9 (33) def Ireland 5.2 (32)


  • Australia (AIS Youth) 23.14 (152) def South Africa 3.2 (20)


  • Flying Boomerangs 9.13 (67) def South Africa (Inland Squad) 8.9 (57), Mohadin Cricket Ground, Potchefstroom
  • Flying Boomerangs 17.10 (112) def South Africa (Coastal Squad) 5.6 (36), Nyanga Cricket Ground, Cape Town
  • Australia (AIS Youth) 26.22 (178) def South Africa 4.5 (29), Cape Town

International Cup[edit]

See also[edit]