Rugby World Cup 2011

Juan: Boks, Oz RWC favourites

2011-08-28 22:44
Juan Smith (File)

Cape Town - Injured Springbok flank Juan Smith says the Boks and the Wallabies - and not New Zealand - are the favourites to win the Rugby World Cup.

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Despite losing their last two games, many pundits again have New Zealand as the favourites for the showpiece event, starting on September 9.

However, Smith - who has been ruled out of the tournament with an Achilles injury - finds it strange that most experts back the Kiwi's to break their 24-year World Cup drought.

"It's surprising that the All Blacks are talked about as favourites," Smith told the Rapport newspaper.

"They do well in the Tri-Nations tournament, but they could not handle the pressure in previous World Cup tournaments.

"I believe we (South Africa) are the favourites along with Australia.

"We have the players with the temperament and experience for the tournament," said Smith.

Meanwhile, the Bok ace with 69 Test caps has also decided to not call an end to his international career.

After South Africa's European tour of Britain and Ireland last year, Smith said he would retire from international rugby after the World Cup.

But after being ruled out the tournament in New Zealand, the Free Stater has decided he wants to keep on playing for the Springboks.

"I talked to quickly (about retiring) and I would like to play for the Boks for another year or two.

"This year out of rugby has given me heaps of time to recuperate," said Smith.


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