Springboks

SA, France 'can win' RWC

2010-09-08 22:32
Cobus Visagie (Gallo Images)
Stephen Nell

Cape Town – South Africa and France are the only two countries that have the ability to turn the screws on New Zealand at next year’s World Cup.

VIDEO: RWC New Zealand 2011 promo

That was the assessment offered by former Springbok tighthead prop Cobus Visagie about the state of world rugby one year before next year’s tournament in New Zealand kicks off.

The All Blacks and Tonga open the tournament at Eden Park in Auckland on September 9 next year.

“Australia’s forwards have made a step up and their backline is looking superb, but I don’t think the Wallabies stand a realistic chance of beating the All Blacks in New Zealand. It’s only South Africa and France that have the ability to do that,” said Visagie.

“New Zealand are a side that play the laws really well as they are applied now, but I still believe that if South Africa pick a fetching flank like Heinrich Brüssow, they will slow the pace of the All Blacks’ game and they will look less dangerous.

“Their big weakness is the lineouts. If we can adapt our game plan to play for possession, we can put their lineouts under pressure. If you add Brüssow to that, the All Blacks will not look nearly as sharp on the attack.

“I think South Africa are missing Heinrich a lot. He slows opponents’ possession.”

Visagie is currently the chief co-ordinator of the Springbok Supporters Club in the United Kingdom.

He also helps out as scrumming consultant at English club Saracens and therefore has a good knowledge of rugby in the Northern Hemisphere.

“France is the biggest threat from the Northern Hemisphere,” Visagie said of the European teams’ chances.

Alan Solomons, who currently coaches the EP Kings and is also an expert on Northern Hemisphere rugby having coached Ulster, expects New Zealand to win the tournament.

“I’m convinced the All Blacks will win it. They’ve got the bit between their teeth and are playing good rugby. If Dan Carter and, to a lesser extent Richie McCaw, stay fit they should take it,” he said.

Solomons believes South Africa are “major contenders”, but that Australia just don’t have the firepower.

He rates France highly, but doubts their ability to deliver consistently enough to win the tournament. Rather, he believes they can cause a major upset.

Alan Zondagh, who runs the Rugby Performance Centre in Riebeeck West, warns that South Africa should not be written off.

“The positive is that we are not playing to our potential and the All Blacks and Wallabies are still struggling to beat us,” said Zondagh.

“South Africa will be better at the World Cup than is presently the case. There is little doubt about that.”

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