Cape Town - Former France coach Bernard Laporte says that the wet weather in England will not give the northern hemisphere sides much of an advantage in this year's Rugby World Cup.
Laporte coached France to two World Cup semi-finals in 2003 (Australia) and 2007 (France) and is currently in charge of French giants Toulon, a post that he has occupied since 2011.
But this week he is in South Africa where, along with former Wallabies boss Robbie Deans, he has prepared a Toulon-heavy World XV side that will do battle with the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday.
might well rain but it rains here (South Africa) and it rains in New Zealand as
well so that shouldn’t be a problem," said Laporte.
"The southern hemisphere sides will be ready. Northern
hemisphere teams like England, Wales and Ireland will definitely be ready and
they can go a long way in the World Cup.
"The French team haven’t been playing
well for the last three years but they’ll be competitive because they’ve had a
lot of preparation together."
Deans agreed that there were a number of sides that could go all the way at the tournament.
"There are possibly six sides that could win the tournament
this year. I don’t think that’s ever been the case previously," he said.
"South Africa is
certainly one of those. They’re capable of winning it.
Springboks’ chances are good. Don’t worry about that. If we hadn’t tipped them
over in 2011 there’s a very high likelihood of them going on and being
successful in that tournament.
"They’re a World Cup team. Experience is
evidently a critical element and there’s a good blend. There’s some youth
coming through with vitality but capability. People talk about age, but if you
had to pick an age you’d want it to be closer to 30 than 20."
Saturday's match kicks off at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jean de Villiers
15 Delon Armitage, 14 Lachlan Turner, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 David Smith, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Bakkies Botha (captain), 4 Ali Williams, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Substitutes: 16 David Roumieu, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Flip Van der Merwe, 20 Louis-Benoit Madaule, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Rudi Wulf