SA rugby legends expect Boks to make back-to-back World Cup finals
Former rugby players and administrators feel the Springboks have what it takes to wheel the cart through the mud and defeat England in this weekend’s Rugby World Cup 2023 semifinal in France.
It will be a tough game, but at the conclusion of the 8o-minute discipline, reducing mistakes will be the deciding factor between winning and losing.
On Saturday at 9pm millions of South Africans will be glued to screens, at home and packed into sports bars, yelling at the top of their lungs until the final whistle.
The Boks secured their semifinal berth when they found a way to beat Les Bleus in a Paris quarterfinal, edging out France 29-28 in a nail-biter. Now England await at Stade de France on Saturday.
The game is a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final when the Boks beat England 32-12 in Yokohama.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Kolisi’s brutal Boks stun England
Daily Maverick asked former Springbok flyhalf Errol Tobias, former Bok captain Morne du Plessis, former convener of the Springbok selection panel Peter Jooste, former Western Province Rugby Football Union vice-president Ronald Bantom, chairperson of the Paarl Rugby Union Mario Williams and Bayana Bayana coach Desiree Ellis for their thoughts and best wishes for the Boks.
This is what they said:
Tobias believes South Africa is a better team as a whole and predicts a Springbok victory of 28-16. He anticipates a tremendous battle in the first 40 minutes to seize control of the game, gain momentum and keep the scoreboard ticking.
“Goal-orientedness, courage and tenacity will be deciding factors. Discipline will also affect who wins the game, because if a side receives a yellow card and spends 15 minutes in the sin bin, the opposition will score a couple of tries,” he said.
Go out and play for South Africa and your families on Saturday, and make us proud.
Du Plessis’s reaction was brief: “I can’t see us not going to the final, but we have to cross that bridge first. I have a lot of faith in our squad; they appear prepared and well organised.”
Jooste said the game will be challenging, but it is the World Cup and both teams are prepared. Every team competing in the World Cup aimed to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
“We can’t go by what’s happened in the past. Rassie Erasmus, the national director of rugby, and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber did an excellent job of preparing our players.
“All I want to tell our Bok team is to do what they’ve been told, and we’ll get there. Our team is disciplined, as proven by our recent victory over France. Go out and play for South Africa and your families on Saturday, and make us proud. I’ll be in France next Saturday to cheer on our boys in the final,” Jooste said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Rugby World Cup 2023
Without being overconfident, Bantom believes England has little chance against the Boks in their current form, adding that the Springboks are a very tough squad with a strong front row.
“We have a fantastic flyhalf and scrumhalf combination, as well as backline players with exceptional individual skills, which will give England nightmares.
“My healthy mind tells me that England will not be a match, but my sports mind tells me that we cannot be certain since it is the worst opponent of any sports person,” Bantom said.
Williams is a converted Springbok fan. He was a devoted All Blacks supporter for years. His conversion occurred years ago and he has subsequently demonstrated his patriotism. He expects the Boks to defeat England by 10/12 points.
Ellis anticipates a difficult encounter against England, noting that the Boks showed stealth, a strong defence and an ability to score tries against France, demonstrating that they have what it takes to win.
“On Saturday night I will be wearing my green jersey. All sports should rally behind the Boks,” Ellis said about Bok captain Siya Kolisi and his players. DM