Get Newsletter

Schalk Brits picks his #RWC23 Champion

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok hooker Schalk Brits has made some bold World Cup 2023 predictions.


The World Cup 2019 winner has backed the Springboks to secure their fourth title. However, he admitted that an Ireland victory would be a great feat for World Rugby.

The Irish currently ranked No.1 in the World has never made it past the quarterfinal stage and it seems like that hoodoo is not about to end this year according to Schalk Brits’ road to the final.

Not one to mince his words, the hooker predicted a very gloomy campaign for Wales and supported Fiji to claim a spot in the quarterfinals.

Pool A – All Blacks’ Kryptonite

Brits revealed that France will kick off the tournament with a win over the All Blacks on Friday.

That means that the hosts will top Pool A, with New Zealand second.

“The funny thing with Pool A is that there are teams that will try their best, but just won’t win a game,” Brits said.

“Italy and Namibia don’t have any squad depth and they’ll find it so hard against New Zealand and France. They’ll just run them ragged.


“France have a great pack, great structures in place and they can be New Zealand’s kryptonite in World Cups. So I think France are going to win that first opening game against them and will end up topping the Pool with New Zealand in second.

“With France playing at home and the emotion of the occasion, the squad will really bring it. The way France play isn’t just ‘go’, it’s coordinated and settled, and when he wants to, Antoine Dupont just runs the show. The game could even be a trendsetter for France and may end up dictating their run in the rest of the World Cup.

“That said, a few months ago no one was talking about New Zealand, but after the recent games where they’ve blitzed opposition sides [before they played the Boks]- like they did in Auckland against South Africa – that’s all changed. I’ve never seen such attacking intensity from a team, so you can never write them off.”

Pool B – Never bet against green

It comes as no surprise, the legend believes the Boks will conclude  Pool B in poll position, while Ireland will be second.

“This really is the Pool of death,” Brits said.


“Okay so there’s a lot of emotion here, and I’m of course extremely biased towards South Africa, but I honestly think this group is even better than the 2019 winning squad. They’ve been together for a long time, and although some pivotal players [Handrè Pollard, Lood de Jager] are injured, we still have very exciting backs and our forward pack is vicious and dominant.

“But then you take Ireland who have a point to prove, having never got past the quarterfinals. Andy Farrell has given them that extra edge, given them real belief and focus, much more than when Joe Schmidt was there.

“Scotland recently beat France with an unbelievable fightback that had real style and intensity. They might not have as many athletes as say New Zealand, but they are great to watch. They might even be a banana skin for some sides in this pool, in fact, they could beat Ireland.

“That goes for Tonga as well, if they get their structure together they can be a hard side to beat. Although Romania will find things extremely hard, particularly in this Pool.

“However, I do think South Africa will beat Ireland and top the group and Ireland will then finish in second. And if Scotland does beat Ireland – like I think they will – it will have been too little too late in their games, as they just don’t have the squad depth to cope with all their matches.”

(Continue below …)

Schalk Brits picks his #RWC23 Champion

Pool C – ‘I love Eddie Jones’

Brits believes that Eddie Jones’ Australia have enough firepower to survive Pool C.

However, opted to be controversial and backed Fiji to knockout Wales and claim the second spot in the pool.

“Australia will finish top, I love Eddie Jones, he’s a real character and Will Skelton is a great bloke who will lead from the front,” Brits said.

“But, I’m going to be controversial here and say Fiji will finish second and they will beat Wales.

“Fiji will out-muscle and outskill a lot of sides too. They don’t always have the best structures in place, but they just want to play beautiful rugby and that works for them. I can see them coming through in this Pool and having a proper go.

“I don’t really know why Warren Gatland took the Wales job again, he’s been rotating his squad a lot lately as well, which I find surprising. I mean, they beat England recently, but when you think about it, is playing and beating a poor England side really a proper means of showing your progress right now? They also don’t have the personalities they used to, with no Alun Wyn Jones, who’s really going to stand up and have a go when they need to turn a game around?

“Some people have backed Georgia to qualify, but to me, they play a good set piece, but they don’t have the depth you need in a major tournament.”

Pool D – Lucky England

Despite England’s current troubling form, the 42-year-old feels they will overcome Samoa and Japan and end second in Pool D, while Los Pumas will claim the No.1 spot.

“I’ll go for Argentina to win the Pool. I saw a lot of them in the Rugby Championship and I was very impressed with their passion and aggression,” Brits said.

“I think England will come second but they are lucky they have this particular group, as they’ll beat the likes of Samoa and Japan, but will still lose to Argentina. It’ll be the case that Samoa and Japan will push them hard in their games, but these sides will struggle to get any positive results here.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played with a lot of the England squad and they’re proper rugby players and Steve Borthwick is a good guy, but I just can’t work out why they’re not performing right now. Steve has had a tough job taking over so close to the World Cup, but so far things just don’t seem to be working and they’re not playing the way they should. They should be phenomenal, but they’re not.

“For me, the England pack doesn’t try to dominate. Instead, they try all these moves, but if the pack isn’t dominating it just won’t work. Also, when you look at the squad, who do they have that can turn a game on its head and create something out of nothing?”

Fans votes for RWC winner


Quarterfinal One: Australia v England

“Although England will struggle and won’t have been playing attractive rugby – a bit like in 2007 – I’ve a funny feeling that if they get to this stage, they’ll have gained some momentum and could beat Australia,” Brits predicted.

“No revenge for Eddie Jones, but I’m hoping this tie comes off as everyone will expect Australia to win and it could be a big upset.”

Quarterfinal Two: South Africa v New Zealand

“Well, I can’t not back the Springboks, can I?” the South African legend said.

“Even though it’s New Zealand I think the South Africa pack is more exciting and would have enough to win this one.”

Quarterfinal Three: Argentina v Fiji

“Fiji would do a lot of running and will push Argentina for maybe 60 minutes, but Argentina should win this game.”

Quarterfinal Four: France v Ireland

“The Irish public will slaughter me again for this, but I’m sorry, I’m backing France here and Ireland would once again go out in the Quarterfinals,” Brits conceded.

“Ireland will be great, but with that home advantage France would go through.”


Semifinal One: England v South Africa

“A rematch from the 2019 Final, the score won’t be the same and it’ll be competitive, but South Africa would comfortably win this one.”

Semifinal Two: Argentina v France

“Argentina would push France at times, but this is another easy one, France would win.”

Bronze final

England v Argentina

Brits beliefs that Argetina will pick up the bronze at the tournament.

“Sorry England, but Argentina would win this match.”


South Africa v France

“Well, this might not surprise you but I’m going for South Africa again,” Brits said.

“It would be a close game, there’d be a real wrestle here and France would be hugely up for it, but a Springboks win would break a record, it’s probably the last World Cup for a lot of the boys in the squad and they’re an unbelievable pack who will want to have a proper go.

“The effect on South Africa would be incredible too. If I think back to the impact our win in 2019 had on the country, I remember celebrating with people from all different cities and townships, so I know that sport really has the power to change views and attitudes for the better.

“Ultimately, whatever happens, I think that it will be the most interesting World Cup I’ll ever watch, as there are so many big sides that have a chance.

“Also, if South Africa don’t win, and it’s a Northern Hemisphere team – maybe Ireland – it would be great for World Rugby.”

Write A Comment