Cape Town - Former Argentina centre Marcelo Bosch says it will be tough to stop the All Blacks from winning this year’s Rugby Championship but he believes the Springboks can run them close.
The All Blacks have won five of the past six editions and started last weekend’s opening round with a commanding 38-13 win over the Wallabies in Sydney.
The Springboks opened their account with a 34-21 win over Los Pumas in Durban.
The 34-year-old Bosch, who represented Argentina in 39 Tests between 2007 and 2015, spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week when he gave his predictions for the remainder of the tournament.
“The All Blacks were really good against Australia in Sydney and it’s hard not to think they won’t win the Rugby Championship again. The All Blacks have shown for years and years why they are the best team and there is no reason they won’t make it again,” Bosch said.
“However, the competition is still young and we will see what happens. I think South Africa, in terms of what they showed in June and against Argentina, can prove their closest rivals. I believe South Africa can be stronger than Australia against New Zealand. Under a new coach and captain, the Springboks have returned to their traditional strengths and they are playing with loads of physicality in the forwards. It seems that they are building in the forwards before sending the ball to the backs.”
Bosch added that the Boks have world class players among their ranks who could trouble the All Blacks.
“The Springbok pack of forwards were unbelievable against Los Pumas and the level that Eben Etzebeth played at, in his first game back after nine months out, was outstanding.
“In the backline, South Africa have very good players in key positions. Faf de Klerk is an unbelievable player. He has great vision, can introduce pace to the game and his kicking has improved by playing in the UK. Another European-based player that has returned to the Springbok fold this season, Willie le Roux, has been awesome to watch.
“The Boks are bringing their physicality, kicking game and defence as before, but they have some players that are introducing flair to the game as well. It’s a pleasure to watch and I am quite excited to see what happens between South Africa and New Zealand when they clash in September and October.”
READ: Marcelo Bosch’s full Q&A interview with Sport24