Wales were dealt a massive double blow when Leigh Halfpenny was ruled out of the world cup as well as in-form no9 Rhys Webb. One cannot help but shed a tear for Welsh fans whose World Cup dreams were dealt a serious blow with this news. Wales have also lost their key centre Jonathan Davies too.
In Springbok terms this equates to losing Damian de Allende, Fourie du Preez and Pat Lambie (Pat’s influence with his boot and attack skills set the platform for the Boks win vs Argentina recently)
With Duan Vermeulen slowly being unwrapped from layers of cotton wool, one cant help but notice the mood in the Bok camp lifting ever increasingly, and along with this, the self belief that they can achieve the ultimate success in the task ahead.
The declared fit players available for the opener in Brighton vs Japan gives a rugby nation hope of the Boks reaching the final with a bit of luck on their side.
Fourie du Preez has been taking some big and potential bruising hits, but he came out unscathed from recent skirmishes on the training grounds. All in all this is some real positive news and we wish the Boks all the best for the upcoming World Cup.
The Boks has been inactive for 3 weeks now, yet they gained a couple of spots in the World Rankings due to factors beyond their control. BE CAREFUL. The Boks should not be fooled by this as you are only as good as your last game.
5 Weeks will have passed, once the game between South Africa and Japan commences, its a long long time and lets hope the boys are not rusty from the absence of the physical aspect of the game. YES, skills can be sharpened whether individually, or unit plays or as a team collectively, BUT that physical aspect and mental toughness of opponents lacks and this makes players vulnerable to too much self belief, which often results in some banged up and bruised ego’s after a tough encounter, or even such a long layoff period.
I am of the opinion to be successful you need to keep your players focused, no better way to keep them focused than play tough encounters by-weekly at best. I believe the Northern hemisphere sides are better prepared than their Southern counter parts for this World Cup, as they had fixtures until very recently. Don’t be too surprised if Japan score a quickfire volley of points and look much sharper in all fassets of the game than the Boks, during the opening 25 minutes or so. The Boks sheer class will pull this game through with their superior strength/size/speed. Not too much needle is expected in this game against Japan.
With Duan Vermeulen, Lood de Jager,Pieter Steph Du Toit Pat Lambie, Luwazi Mvovo all looming on the bench, Japan wont be able to match this classy bench.
Going back into history a little, I compared the 1995 Winning Boks vs the most likely squad to play in the opener against Japan.
1995 Springboks vs 2015 Springboks – Height / Weight comparisons
- André Joubert (1.87m, 92kg), Willie le Roux (1.86m, 90kg)
- James Small (1.82m, 89kg), JP Pietersen (1.90m, 96kg)
- Japie Mulder (1.84m, 99kg), Jesse Kriel (1.86m, 95kg)
- Hennie le Roux (1.76m, 80kg), Damian de Allende (1.89m, 101kg)
- Chester Williams (1.74m, 84kg), Bryan Habana (1.80m, 90kg)
- Joel Stransky (1.79m, 84kg), Handré Pollard (1.89m, 97kg)
- Joost van der Westhuizen (1.88m, 92kg), Fourie du Preez (1.82m, 91kg)
- Mark Andrews (2.00m, 112kg), Schalk Burger (1.93m, 114kg)
- Ruben Kruger (1.89m, 102kg), Francois Louw (1.90m, 114kg)
- Francois Pienaar (1.91m, 105kg), Willem Alberts (1.92m, 120kg)
- Hannes Strydom (1.99m, 115kg), Victor Matfield (2.00m, 108kg)
- Kobus Wiese (1.99m, 125kg), Eben Etzebeth (2.04m, 117kg)
- Balie Swart (1.85m, 113kg), Jannie du Plessis (1.88m, 120kg)
- Chris Rossouw (1.82m, 105kg), Bismarck du Plessis (1.89m, 112kg)
- Os du Randt (1.90m, 125kg), Tendai Mtawarira (1.83m, 115kg)