The Springboks Rugby World Cup challenge has a number of positives. We take a look at five of those positives, ahead of the Japan World Cup.
Rassie Erasmus – Head Coach and Director of Rugby
Erasmus donned the no.6 Jersey for the Springboks in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, which saw South Africa beat New Zealand for 3rd place. He has a clear vision of what is needed, to bring the Rugby World Cup home.
This is evident in the way he runs things as both the head coach and director, he has complete autonomy on the selection of the squad. This has proven to be a breath of fresh air as compared to the effects politics had on the team before he joined in February of 2018. He has brought the Springboks from their all-time low of 7th in the World Rugby rankings to their current 4th.
Fans are keen to see what tricks he has up his sleeve for the Springboks Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
Siya Kolisi – Captain
Being the first-ever black man to captain the Springboks it is hard to not notice. He was decisively the best player last year and being given the task of leading the team was we well deserved. He is a loose forward and is one to look out for. He has thus far shown great leadership.
His being made captain has garnered more support from locals when it comes to rugby. It is also a clear sign of how far the nation has come from the days of apartheid which caused the tier one team to miss two Rugby World Cups.
Improved Springboks squad ‘depth’
The South African side has named a squad which although lacks in experience it makes up for in the form. The average age of the squad is 27, with an average of 34 Test caps each, which is low compared to the others in the predicted top six.
Coach Rassie Erasmus has named a very experienced pack with a total of 691 caps. This is only second to New Zealand and this may prove to be advantageous to the Springboks.
The backs have a total of 362 caps which is low but the back three are a lot to watch out for. Some players who are going to be felt are fly-half Handre Pollard, hooker Malcolm Marx, fullback Willie le Roux and, dynamic scrum-half Faf de Klerk.
Frans Steyn is the only player from the 2007 squad which won the Rugby World Cup in France to be selected. His experience and versatility should add a lot of value to the squad.
Springboks Rugby World Cup history
In order to predict the outcome of the games, one needs to look back. All games in the pool are historically clearly in favour of the Springboks. Two world championships, and a high percentage of pool victories. So historically, South Africa are very much certain to ‘get out of their pool’.
In every fixture in the Pool stages, the ‘Boks are favourites – except against New Zealand, which could go either way.
The fourth ever encounter between the two sides, but the first-ever in Pool play. Looking at very recent results, New Zealand would win in the pool stages and South Africa would be second. If all goes well for both teams after that then it possible to see this match replayed in the final.
Their opening pool game is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, and is the perfect way to begin the Springboks drive towards a third Rugby World Cup crown.
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) September 20, 2019
The final reason: Belief
There has never been a time when the South Africans have exuded more confidence in themselves as they have this time. It is clear they really want to bring it home. This will motivate players who are at their peak and older ones at their prime to give their all. As Africans, we can’t ignore some signs:
They won the Rugby World Cup 24 years ago in 1995 and again 12 years ago in 2007. We see a clear pattern right there. Are the Springboks bringing it home 12 years later?
The third one is the charm!
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