Read warns of 'dangerous' Springboks at World Cup

Thu, 11 May 2017 06:52

REACTION: All Blacks skipper Kieran Read on Thursday backed the Springboks to emerge from a prolonged form slump and pose a real threat when the rivals meet in pool play at the 2019 World Cup.

South Africa and New Zealand were both drawn in Pool C for the tournament in Japan, the first time they have ever faced each other in the group stages.

Read said it would be a "massive" clash and expected the two-time champions to be a much-improved team from the one that has slid to seventh in the world rankings.

"They certainly will be. Across the board, teams perform at their best during a World Cup," the 97-Test veteran told Radio Sport.

"South Africa are a team that, with a couple more years of practising what they're trying to achieve, will be a much more dangerous side."

South Africa made the semifinals of the last World Cup, but only after falling victim to one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history when Japan beat them 34-32.

They then endured a horror 2016, losing eight of 12 Tests - a Springbok record for a calendar year.

Read, whose side will be chasing a third straight title in Japan, said there was always respect between the teams, who share a 2-2 record in past World Cup meetings.

"It's probably going to be good for us to have a team like that in your pool to get yourself ready," he said.

New Zealand lost to South Africa in the 1995 Final but have won their last two World Cup meetings, including the 2015 semifinal.

Pool B comprises New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, and the repechage winner.

The All Blacks have never lost in pool play, but would be likely to qualify as one of the two top teams, even if they did lose to South Africa.

They have won all 13 matches against Italy, with the most recent meeting a 68-10 drubbing in Rome last year.

Read, who is currently out injured with a broken thumb, expects to return for the Test series against the British and Irish Lions starting June 24.

However, the No.8 said New Zealand's warm-up fixture against Samoa on June 16 was "touch and go".

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 23 June 2017
Samoa v Wales 06h30 Apia
South Africa A v French Barbarians 18h00 Orlando Stadium
Sat, 24 June 2017
Fiji v Scotland 02h30 Suva
Japan v Ireland 04h40 Tokyo
Australia v Italy 05h00 Suncorp Stadium
New Zealand v B&I Lions 07h35 Eden Park
South Africa v France 15h00 Johannesburg
Canada v United States 19h00 Calgary
Argentina v Georgia 19h15 Estadio Ciudad De La Plata
Tue, 27 June 2017
Hurricanes v B&I Lions 07h35 Westpac Stadium
WORLD CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2