Springboks can defeat All Blacks
EXCLUSIVE: The All Blacks are once again the overwhelming favourites to claim lift the Rugby Championship trophy, however, the Springboks could bag a rare victory over the New Zealanders.
The Late Tackle team of Howie Kahn, Anton ‘Worms’ van Zyl and Morgan Newman looks at the respective squads of the four nations and made a case for their success in the competition.
Van Zyl believes that the competition does not favour South Africa and Argentina.
“We [Springboks] are not going to be able to play the same 15 for every game. The travel is a factor. The schedule does not favour the South Africans and the Argentineans, it definitely favours the Aussies and the Kiwis. I don’t think we have enough players to do a split but somewhere they need to be rotated,” he said.
“If we manage to beat the All Blacks, the amount of confidence going into 2019 is immense. They [Springboks] see that game at the World Cup [against the All Blacks] as the absolute benchmark – we have to win that game. If we can already do that now, the boost to the confidence is going to be unbelievable,” he added.
Springboks – All
“I don’t think they are going to win the Rugby Championship and that’s not a crime. The performances we put in is more important for me. The brand of rugby we play and the players that Rassie picks is going to be very important in building a solid squad,” Newman said.
“I think we also need to be realistic. We definitely should beat the Argies, we should win our home games. I think we can beat the All Blacks at home and finish a solid second on the log,” he added.
Players to watch:
“I’d like to see Faf de Klerk come to the party. How we are going to use him is going to be important. Andre Esterhuizen, I’d like to see him make the 12 jersey his own. He is a bit of a player that likes the physicality, so I’d like to see him move away from that and maybe use a bit more skill,” Newman said.
“Warren Whiteley was the chosen captain, leader and embraced the mantra of what is expected from a Springbok captain, so he will be looking to re-establish that brand again. I’d like to see a fight-back from Malcolm Marx. Just to reassert himself and reaffirm his presence as the best hooker in the world,” Van Zyl said.
Argentina – Anton ‘Worms’ van Zyl
“Mario Ledesma, after six months as the Jaguares coach, has been promoted to Argentinean head coach. Big call but he’s definitely got the players’ vote. I think we are going to see something interesting from the Argentineans.”
Players to watch:
Pablo Matera – Argentina seem to bring out loose forwards that has their own style and identity. They don’t fit into the perfect fetcher or No.8, they have big engines and are everywhere. He played that role to perfection [during Super Rugby] and I think we will see something special [from him]. He won’t have the burden of being captaincy.
Emiliano Boffelli – Has always been a points machine. He was front and centre to that unbelievable run that the Jaguares had of consecutive away wins. He is something special, he makes things happen, he is going to cause defences a lot of headaches.
New Zealand – Morgan Newman
“If you look at New Zealand’s squad, they are probably the best in the world, and if not the best, then in the top three of the best [in their positions]. How much better can the All Blacks get? They need to keep consistency between now and the World Cup. There are only three new caps in the squad, so they are not blooding that many new guys to the setup.
“They are a pretty settled side. I would like to see Richie Mo’unga get a run but Beauden Barrett is head and shoulders the best flyhalf in the world currently.”
Players to watch: Any of the squad members.
Australia – Howie Kahn
“To me, the guy you can’t look past is Michael Hooper. They have just given him a five-year contract to stay in Australia- that’s unprecedented. The Wallabies, to me, are sort of half a team without him.
“The other guy you can’t not mention is David Pocock. He’s come back from a tough knee injury, a sabbatical and he performed in Super Rugby. When you put the two of them in a loose trio together, you are not really going to go wrong.
“When you have [Will] Genia at nine and [Israel] Folau at fullback, you probably have two of the best players in their position. Bernard Foley though probably holds the key at 10, he can be a little bit hot and cold. He is key because when he is on song, the Wallabies do quite well.
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