The Springboks are almost there. Just 80 minutes and the All Blacks stand in their way of defending their title. Both sides have won 3 World Cups and this is the ultimate tie breaker, it simply doesn't get better than this. Whilst most reading this will be quite chuffed to know that either way, the South is bringing home a title yet again.
The Springboks have the chance to do it all. Four time champions, back to back champions, the most successful World Cup side of all time. That being said, its going to take more, and I mean a lot more than what the Bokke dished up against England. We were unbelievably lucky to walk away with a spot in the final and it took falling back onto some proven World Cup winning talent to get the job done. A real smash and grab as it has been described.
On the one hand this could be great. It could be the wake up call the Bokke need to put out one last massive shift. We are back as the underdogs and we are being written off, just the kind of place the manne like to be. Adversity drives the guys in Green & Gold and you can rest assured they'll be lapping up the criticism as fuel for the fight that is to come.
There were however some tired legs out there against England, and the All Blacks pose a vastly different challenge. Forget Twickenham, it matters less than what Clive Woodward has to say in the Sunday paper. The 23 to face the All Blacks needs some tweaking and these are the changes I would make.
I believe we will be needing the extra firepower up front. So I am going with the 6/2 split, to the unfortunate exclusion of Manie. I had to debate between Jean Kleyn and Marco van Staden coming in on the bench and ultimately landed on an extra pair of shoulders in the engine room. Deon Fourie offers back up in the loose and we're likely to see Bongi get another full 80. The utility of Deon thus made me go for Kleyn.
The All Blacks lineout has been very strong of late and it will be something the Bokke focus on shutting down. The two locks on the bench will greatly assist in this facet of play. I promoted Faf to the starting lineup as I believe we'll follow a more conservative approach against the Kiwis with Cobus to inject pace into the game later on. I could be wrong with Willie at 23 as it could just as easily be Manie.
Here is the 23 I believe can bring us home the title
Siya Kolisi (c)
Pieter-Steph Du Toit
Faf de Klerk
Damian De Allende
Willie Le Roux