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Fourie: Boks to end No.1 status questions

SPOTLIGHT: Deon Fourie believes the Springboks are solely out to solidify their status as the #BestInTheWorld when they take on Ireland at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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According to the World Rugby rankings, a win by more than 15 points for the back-to-back World Cup champs would see them extend their advantage over Ireland to 4.79 points and take their rating above 95 points, following a gain of 0.47 points.

However, Ireland on the other hand could reclaim the top spot if they secure a win by more than 15 points in Pretoria.

“I’m really excited,” Springbok Fourie told @rugby365com at a media engagement in Johannesburg.

The 37-year-old will watch the game from the stands this weekend due to a serious knee injury he sustained during the Stormers’ Champions Cup match against La Rochelle in April.

Consequently, the flank, who can also play hooker, missed the 39-man Springbok squad.

“The build-up for the last couple of weeks, with No.1 taking on No.2 and all the history between South Africa and Ireland.

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“They haven’t won a Test match here since 2016 [26-20 win at Newlands].

“So, it’s building up to be a dramatic clash on Saturday and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.”

The back-to-back World Cup champs have yet to lose a series against Ireland on home soil.

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The last time Ireland visited the Republic, the hosts recorded a 2-1 series win in 2016.

However, in recent years Ireland has become a thorn in the side of the four-time World Cup champs.

Since 2017, Ireland has recorded three wins over Springboks, including a narrow 13-8 win during the 2023 World Cup pool phase.

When asked about the rivalry and heading into the first Test with the pressure to end the unwanted streak, Fourie said the side is certainly not desperate.

Instead, he believes for the Boks it is about affirming their No.1 status as the best team in the world.

Fourie was part of the side that tasted defeat in the pool phase.

“I don’t think the Springboks are desperate to win,” Fourie said.

“I think we just want to affirm our No.1 status in the world. Affirm our back-to-back World Cups.

“Desperation is when you are under pressure and you have to prove something, but at this moment it’s just for us to show we are good and we deserve two World Cups.”

Fourie delivered some good news regarding his injury.

He stated he hopes to make a return to action later this year.

“Recovery is going well, 12 weeks in,” Fourie said.

“I saw the specialist last week. I’m ahead of time, everything is going well and there was no backlash after the operations.

“I’m starting to run next week and hopefully in a couple of months, I can run out for the Stormers.

“And if it comes my way, I hopefully can put on the green and gold jersey again.”

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