Cape Town - Towering lock RG Snyman will play a key role for the Springboks at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, says Butch James

In Johannesburg on Thursday night, James was joined by former Springbok captain John Smit and former Bok wing Odwa Ndungane for SuperSport's official launch function for their coverage of the 2019 showpiece. 

All three will form part of the panel of analysts throughout the seven-week tournament, and on Thursday they gave their views on the Boks' chances in Japan. 

All three believe that the Boks are in with a real chance at winning a third World Cup title, but it was when they were asked to give their views on who South Africa's key men at the tournament would be where James sprung a surprise.

"RG (Snyman) in my view is our best lock," the 2007 World Cup winner said.

"He has outstanding skill and is a good link between the forward and the backs.

"His passes and the timing of his passes and that sort of skill is similar to that of a backline player."

James was quick to point to Snyman's strength and physicality. 

"He gets stuck in. He's not scared to hit a ruck and he doesn't just stand out in the backline. He's got an all round game," he said.

"For me, even if he does play a role off the bench, I think that sort of role is going to vital for us."

All three agreed that flyhalf Handre Pollard would likely be South Africa's most important player at the tournament, but Smit is also expecting the role of the tighthead prop - Trevor Nyakane or Frans Malherbe - to be vital. 

The Boks open their World Cup account on September 21 with a massive clash against the All Blacks in Yokohama.