Cape Town - Former Springbok hooker Hanyani Shimange says South African rugby fans underestimate how much other world rugby powers fear the Boks.
Shimange is confident the Boks will give a good account of themselves at the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September.
The Boks meet New Zealand in their first group match at the world showpiece in Yokohama on September 21. The All Blacks are the defending champions and will be looking to become the first team to win the Webb Ellis trophy three times in a row.
Shimange and two other former Springboks, Jean De Villiers and Breyton Paulse, served on a discussion panel at African Bank and Three Cube Management's Rugby Breakfast at celebrity chef Reuben Riffel's restaurant at Val de Vie in Paarl on Friday.
The SuperSport commentator says it all comes down to that first game. "If we get over that, I am pretty confident we can go all the way. I think we underestimate how other teams fear us.
“I can guarantee you New Zealand are worrying more about them playing us then we are about us playing them, considering we beat them last year in New Zealand and I cannot remember when last that happened outside of a British and Irish Lions tour.
“A coach, I just cannot remember now who it was, said if the Springboks get their stuff right the whole world should worry.”
Shimange reckons for the World Cup, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus probably would want to look at the experienced guys and that some of the older Boks plying their trade overseas could still add value.
“You want guys with World Cup experience and there are plenty of them overseas.
“There are the Du Plessis brothers Bismarck and Jannie in the front row, Frans Steyn, Jan Serfontein, JP Pietersen - they have all gone to World Cups before. Then there are guys such as Gio Aplon and Cheslin Kolbe too. You can choose a whole squad from them but a guy like Bismarck could add the experience if you go to the World Cup with two inexperienced hookers, hypothetically speaking.”
Shimange is of the opinion that the third scrumhalf is the one undecided position. Faf de Klerk, Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl are the favourites to go to the World Cup but Shimange says he is not entirely convinced of Van Zyl’s virtues.
“Faf and Embrose will definitely go, but I am not sure about Van Zyl. Maybe they want a scrumhalf with experience because between Faf and Embrose they do not have 50 Test caps yet. Maybe Rassie wants to go with someone with experience as a third scrumhalf, but there isn’t one in the country. If you get injuries when you go into the playoff phase of the tournament you are going to need to look at an experienced scrumhalf.”
He, however, does not expect any major surprises when the squad gets announced. “What you saw last year on the end-of-year tour… you would probably see a lot of the same guys, and 27, 28 of the 31-man-squad are probably already decided.”
Breyton Paulse, Hanyane Shimange and Jean de Villiers talk rugby at Val de Vie in Paarl on Friday. PHOTO: Arnon & Gila Photography.