Looking for the Boks' big five
Bob Dwyer, the Wallaby coach when they won the Webb Ellis Cup in 1991, once said that in order to win the World Cup you need five world class players on form in your team.
No, world class doesn't just mean good Test players.
It means great Test players that arrive on form at the tournament.
Those are players that would either make a World XV or be on a short list at the time.
Obviously there are other factors – you need a good draw, depending on what happens to other teams, injuries, the officials' calls and luck – all add to the successful recipe.
In 1987 the All Blacks had John Kirwan, Wayne Shelford, Joe Stanley, Michael Jones, Grant Fox, Sean Fitzpatrick and Steve McDowall.
In 1991 the Wallabies had David Campese, Michael Lynagh, Tim Horan, Jason Little, Nick Farr-Jones, John Eales, Phil Kearns and Willie Ofahengaue.
In 1995 the Springboks had Andre Joubert, Chester Williams, Joost van der Westhuizen, Os du Randt, Ruben Kruger and Mark Andrews (although he played No.8 in the Final).
In 1999 the Wallabies had Matt Burke, John Eales, Tim Horan, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan and Joe Roff.
In 2003 England had Johnny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Niel Back and Jason Robinson.
In 2007 the Springboks had Os du Randt, Fourie du Preez, Jacque Fourie, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana and Juan Smith.
In 2011 the All Blacks had Israel Dagg, Conrad Smith Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Brad Thorn and Keven Mealamu.
The All Blacks still have those world class players and except for Mealamu they are still on form.
Add Brodie Retallick, Dane Cole, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Ben and Aaron Smith, then it's clear that Steve Hansen has done his planning well.
Heyneke Meyer on the other hand has been banking on these 2007 World Cup stars all long.
He asked, pleaded and begged many of those 2007 champions to be part of this year's campaign.
Jacques Fourie, Bakkies Botha and Juan Smith did the right thing and retired from Test ruby, as they no they are not on form and worthy of the Bok jersey anymore.
Although Meyer never stopped trying nor hoping.
In 2015 the Springboks have Willie le Roux, Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etsebeth, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana that could be considered on form.
Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield and Duane Vermeulen are/were world class, but, not on form – experience alone don't win you World Cups, you need on form players as well.
AussieBoer (Kevin D)
Bryce Lawrence Retirement Interview – interesting comments from about five minutes 30 seconds to about six minutes 30 seconds!