Cape Town - Former national team captain John Smit believes the Springboks have what it takes to defeat the All Blacks at the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
If all goes according to plan, the two arch-rivals will meet at the semi-final stage at this year’s showpiece event in England and Wales.
South Africa’s recent Rugby Championship defeat was the Springboks’ sixth in seven matches against the All Blacks since Heyneke Meyer took over as Bok coach in 2012.
However, the Boks impressed in their last two outings against the Kiwis, beating them 27-25 at Ellis Park last year, before narrowly going down 27-20 at the same ground last month.
In this year’s game the Boks dominated for large parts, but the composure of the All Blacks shone through when it really mattered.
But Smit saw enough in that game to believe that the Boks can upset the odds should they meet the All Blacks at the World Cup.
The 2007 World Cup-winning captain addressed journalists after a rugby function at Cape Town’s Portside building on Thursday.
When probed by Sport24 about what strategy would work against the Kiwis, Smit replied: “Not too far off from what we did in Joburg to be fair, we were the far superior team, we rattled them. We did everything that they don’t like.
“We got in their faces. We actually moved the ball a little bit, but we made sure that we didn’t give them enough room to get loose, runaway tries.
“And we were unbelievably physical and our set piece was superior to theirs on the day, so there are basic things that we do well that New Zealand don’t like and I guess it’s our ability to make them unable to play the way they want to play - which is our greatest asset.”
Smit acknowledged though that the All Blacks would start as firm favourites. The Sharks CEO also warned about a possible tough quarter-final prospect for the Boks.
Should South Africa win Pool B, they will face the runner-up of Pool A, which could possibly be Australia, England or Wales.
“The reality is that any one of those teams that gets through and play us in the quarters has got the ability to beat us. Our drama really will start from the playoffs. We’ve got a nice pool to get ourselves match-fit, get our structures in place and get some confidence.
“I don’t think there’s an easy option out of any of those teams. Australia are going to be very confident. We are far more familiar with Australia, although we’ve beaten them far less than England.
“England will be formidable for anyone to play against. Their home ground advantage will be significant. We’re going to have to bat really smartly.”
South Africa’s pool opponents are Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the USA. They start their campaign against the Brave Blossoms in Brighton on September 19.