John Smit: Springboks’ November tour was a monster

John Smit: Springboks’ November tour was a monster

Johannesburg – In November, the contenders from the southern hemisphere will go to Europe to compete against the top teams from the northern hemisphere. This will mark the beginning of the Rugby World Cup 2023.

After the conclusion of this year’s Rugby Championship, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand will turn their attention and resolve to the Home Unions, France, and Italy.

The Boks came agonizingly close to winning the Championship, but faults in their game strategy and game management prevented them from taking the title. In retrospect, they were one win away from taking the championship, and they will regret their loss to the All Blacks in Johannesburg and their dreadful showing against the Wallabies in Adelaide.

They will have to put these setbacks behind them because, beginning in early November, they will be faced with a monumental challenge. A week later, on November 12, they would face France. The Boks will then fly to Italy before concluding their campaign against England at Twickenham on November 26.

World Rugby ranks Ireland and France first and second, respectively, while England is ranked fifth.

 

These three nations will be among the favorites to win the 2019 World Cup in France. According to John Smit, this next trip will be the first opportunity to assess the Boks’ readiness and instill psychological superiority a year before the tournament.

“This is a monstrous tour,” the former captain of the Boks conceded.

“This is the first punch of the World Cup year. It is the last opportunity for everyone to demonstrate their position.

“The world rankings are based more on mathematics than reality… Actually, everyone of the top seven teams has a chance to win the World Cup.”

It may be a daunting assignment for Jacques Nienaber and his team, but Smit, who guided the Boks to world cup victory in 2007, believes that it will not be the deciding factor.

Instead, the 44-year-old, who has been capped 111 times for his country, believes it will be essential for the Boks to acquire useful lessons while remaining ambitious in their execution.

This tour will be extremely significant for the current Springbok squad, he said.

“I don’t believe it is necessary to win every game and beat everyone, but I do believe we must defeat one or two of the ‘big three’ and be competitive in every game. The last thing we need is to be defeated by a northern competitor.

“France away is going to be a significant game since they are title challengers at home. England is perpetually competitive, and there has been a great deal of friction between these two groups over the past three years.

“Ireland are right up there, and you can anticipate that their challenge will be the most difficult of the three. I would hate for my current livelihood to depend on beating Ireland, England, and France.”

Thursday, during the unveiling of the Hollywood Foundation’s sponsorship of the Under-15 iQhawe Week, Smit made his remarks. The event has been organized by the SA Rugby Legends, of which Smit is a member, in collaboration with the Gauteng provincial government, the City of Johannesburg, and SA Rugby.

Next week, beginning on October 3, the Johannesburg Stadium will host the iQhawe week.

»John Smit: Springboks’ November tour was a monster«

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