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Friday, September 2, 2011

Rugby: Can South Africa pull it off-yet Again?

South Africa is one of the sizzling favourite to lift the IRB Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. With just few days left ahead of the Springboks start their title defence, a lot has happened. It all started in last year’s Castle Tri- Nations. Peter de Villiers men managed to win only one match and finished bottom of the log; ironically they could only achieve the same fit again this year, only winning their last match 18-5 against New Zealand in Port Elizabeth. Following the deprived showing in last year’s competition, and the decision to send the so called ‘b team’ in Tri- Nations away leg, raised a few eye brows. Some believed it was ideal for the Boks to go in New Zealand and Australia with their full strength squad, in order to get as tough practice matches as possible to prepare and figure out their combinations before the
World Cup.

The hiding that South Africa has faced in the last 24 months and also questionable or unsettled combinations, will all add up to the presser going to the World cup. And let’s face it: The presser of being the defending champions, combined with all this factors arising off the pitch, and trying to win it back to back in New Zealand. It’s not mission impossible but it’s a tough task. Facing the prospect of playing world number one and host nation in the semi final makes it even more difficult.

When Michael Ballack miss out on 2010 Soccer World cup in South Africa due to an injury he sustained just before the World cup, everyone forgot about the player management. Maybe Peter de Villiers has a point for not risking losing some key players before the world cup for not important matches as the World
Cup defence. As we speak he has already lost a key member of his team due to Achilles injury Juan Smith. As a player he will replace him but as a leader it remains to be seen, in fact it’s highly unlikely. And all countries in the World Cup know and respect South Africa, except being the defending champions and being number three.

Springboks have the experience of the World cup that other teams can dream for. Players like skipper John Smith, Victor Matfield, Pierr Spies, Frans Steyn,  Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger to mention just  a few. Everyone know the strength of the Springboks, is kicking game, if Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez and Steyn can fire with the boot- then half the job will be done, and I hope they will.  All in all South Africa can go the distance in New Zealand, whether they can pull it off again, only time will tell.

Other Countries That Possesses the Treat

Besides New Zealand being the host Nation, they are entering the World cup as world number one. And the way they are playing-is incredible clicking. If you limit them the ball in hand, then half job is done, but with the ball in hand, they will smack you, they are superb with the ball in hand. Key players:   The
skipper Richie McCaw, Kevin Mealamu, Kieran Read, Daniel Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Mils Muliaina and Ma’a Nonu to mention just a few.

And let’s face it, New Zealand are the hot favourite going to the World Cup. They are playing well and on top of their game, whether they’ve picked early only time will tell. It’s like going to Australia for the ICC Cricket World cup or Brazil for soccer World cup. Australia and England are also teams to look out for, whether they will weather the storm, only time will tell. Australian rugby looks to be on a high, following the Reds lifting the Super 14- Australia themselves beat New Zealand to lift their third Castle Tri-Nations. So it evenly poised. Players like Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock, and Drew Mitchell will be recipe to the Wallabies success. Other teams to watch are, 2007 runners up England it touch and go for them, so as Wales, France and Fiji.

It’s South Africa and Australia that have won the Rugby World Cup than any other
country. They have both lifted the Webb Ellis Cup twice, South Africa’s
success coming in 1995 and 2007.

By Fanele Mbuyazi / leave your comments for me below or send them via email to

©The views expressed above do not in any way represent GoXtra News, but are those of the concerned writer. 2011. Follow us on twitter here  Find us on Facebook here /leave your comments below or email: editor@goxtranews. For publication ERRORS:

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