VIDEO: Boks have hit their 'sweet spot'
The clash between the world’s top-ranked team, Ireland, and South Africa, who are ranked No.2, in Paris on Saturday is the kind of match that World Cups are built on and truly stirs emotions.
It is one of those matches that will be decided by the team that can best hold their nerves in the cauldron of France’s national stadium – a venue located just north of Paris in the commune of Saint-Denis.
That is why ‘experience’ is a vital factor in this encounter.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said there is not much pre-match ‘nerves’ yet, but there is plenty of excitement for the Stade de France face-off.
“It is going to be a proper Test between two teams with good skill sets,” Nienaber told @rugby365com.
He said the ages of the two squads are “very similar” – with Ireland sitting at an average of 29 to 30 years and the Boks in a similar range.
“Our average Test caps per player is between 40 and 45,” Nienaber said of his team.
“If they select the guys we think they will select, it will also be between 40 and 45,” he added.
“It is a clash between two teams that have good experience and players with good cool, calm heads.
“The teams will have a similar number of players over 30.
“It is two squads that will be very well matched on the day.
(WATCH Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber talks about the role ‘experience’ will play in the World Cup Pool B decider between South Africa and Ireland in Paris on Saturday…)
“That is the exciting part – to see if our plans will work against them.
“Will we be able to handle the pressure they put us under?
“There will be ebbs and flows in the game.
“Will they be able to handle the pressure that’s on them?
“It is an important game for both teams.
“If Ireland slips in this game, their Scotland game becomes massive.
“If we slip in this game, our clash with Tonga becomes massive.
“There will be pressure within this game and that is the exciting part.”
He said he has had a look at the average age of teams that have won the World Cup in the past.
Asked where the Boks sit in that regard, he was to the point: “Sweet spot.”