Willie Le Roux: Never write off the All Blacks
SA Rugby Mag spoke with Springboks winger Willie Le Roux, who said the Boks are wary of the All Blacks.
In what is often dubbed the oldest and hardest-fought rivalry in rugby union, Le Roux said “you can never write off the All Blacks”.
“The rivalry goes back a long time,” the 2019 World Cup winner told reporters on Wednesday, predicting “a spectacle, an amazing game” at the Stade de France.
“There’s definitely a lot of respect between the All Blacks and Springboks.”
Le Roux admitted that “the emotion for the last two weeks was pretty high”.
“But when you step off field and you go to bed that night, you wake up the next morning and it’s the next job,” the veteran back said.
“This week is a World Cup final week. That high [from the quarter-finals and semifinals] has gone, it’s now just focus on one job.”
Rain set to hit final, Boks to turn to Pollard?
Lloyd Burnard of news24.com has predicted Handre Pollard to start for South Africa, as the rain is set to pour down on Stade de France for the final.
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“The Springboks faced difficult weather conditions in their 16-15 semifinal win over England this past weekend, and that undoubtedly contributed to the coaching duo of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber replacing starting flyhalf Manie Libbok with Handre Pollard in just the 31st minute of the game.
“It was a move that proved to be a masterstroke, with Pollard showing all of his experience and pedigree in managing the game and getting the Boks over the line with a 50m penalty kick just three minutes from time.
“The predicted weather for the final will once again bring the flyhalf discussion to the surface, with Pollard looking the safer bet.”
Final will add another epic chapter to rivalry
Craig Ray, writing from Paris for Daily Maverick says the Springboks will be out to crash another party in the World Cup final.
“The Boks might be seen as the party crashers in France after ending Les Bleus’ journey with that 29-28 quarter-final win, but in truth, there could not be a better final.
“The two best sides in test rugby and historically at the World Cup, competing to become the first country to claim four [men’s] world titles, in their first World Cup final against each other in the professional era, is a mouthwatering prospect for a neutral.
“The Boks will have to mine a new seam of deep resolve after all they’ve been through in the last two games, and indeed the entire tournament.”
Springboks v All Blacks: A rivalry like no other in world rugby
Mark Keohane writes of the significance of playing on neutral territory and that this is the final everyone wanted.
“The Springboks and All Blacks have each won three World Cup titles and Saturday’s World Cup finalists have enjoyed a remarkable revival of their 100-plus year rivalry since Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took charge of the South Africans in 2018.
“This is the final every rugby purist wanted... a first-ever World Cup final showdown on neutral ground between these two foes.
“What a place to do it, in Paris, the city of love.
“If you love rugby, you just have to love the script to Saturday’s final. The All Blacks won the World Cup at their first attempt in 1987 and the Boks, in international sporting isolation for the 1987 and 1991 World Cups, won the title at their first attempt when hosting in 1995.”
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