Krige: Easy win for All Blacks
Cape Town - Former Springbok skipper Corne Krige is among the many rugby fans surprised to see France in this weekend’s Rugby World Cup final, and while he’s not ruling out a miracle from the French, Krige fully expects to see Richie McCaw lift the trophy in Auckland on Sunday.
“I was extremely surprised to see France make the final!” Krige told Laureus and Sport24 ahead of this weekend’s final. “When they lost to Tonga in the pool games, I really didn’t think they would get past England in the next round.”
But they did, and got past Wales as well; can the French make it three in a row? “Miracles do happen!” Krige conceded. “The French are extremely difficult to play against because they are very unorthodox. You just never know which French team is going to arrive on the day. If they do arrive at Eden Park on Sunday, then they will only lose by a small margin. But if they decide to play like they did against Tonga, then it will be a big score for the All Blacks.”
One senses that Krige expects the latter of those two scenarios, particularly given the indisputable strength of this New Zealand team. “They really are a phenomenal side and they probably deserve to win this World Cup,” an admiring Krige said. “Everybody thought they would struggle without Carter, but they have huge talent in New Zealand, and he was hardly missed against the Wallabies.”
That talent includes captain McCaw, and as a former loose forward, the Kiwi captain’s battle with Wallaby openside David Pocock in the semifinal was a highlight of the World Cup.
“I thought it was a fantastic battle,” said Krige. “(Referee) Craig Joubert, who will be representing South Africa in the final, really handled the pressure well, and he managed Pocock and McCaw as good as humanly possible.”
Ultimately, though, it’s been one team and its collection of stars who’ve stood out for Corne Krige, and he expects just reward come Sunday. “Gut, mind and everything else you need to make a good decision says the All Blacks will win,” he concluded. “They should win it comfortably.”
• For regular rugby updates from Laureus Academy Members including Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Morne du Plessis and Hugo Porta, visit blog.laureus.com