‘Anything less than top unacceptable’

Three former players on where the Springboks should finish in Pool B at the World Cup.

Thinus Delport (former Bok wing and Sky Sports pundit)

'The Springboks should be strong enough to see off all challengers in the pool stage. Finishing as runners-up will probably see them avoid the All Blacks in the semi-finals, but either way South Africa will still have to play against England, Australia or Wales in the quarter-finals. The Boks will be severely tested by the physical Samoans, and Scotland, who are more accustomed to the weather conditions, but with the experienced guys we have, we will be too strong in the end. South Africa have to top this pool. Losing early on in the tournament will be a psychological blow and they don't need that now.'

Werner Greeff (former Bok fullback)

'With the exception of Scotland, I don't foresee the Boks running into any trouble in the group stage. Although it'll be better to qualify for the next round as pool runners-up, the other side of the coin is you want to win every match and play against the best teams. It's not necessarily a good thing to be in an easy pool, because it's so important to compete in close encounters early on. I hope the Boks get tested as it will prepare them mentally for the knockouts. They willl have to keep their composure and stick to their structures, but it'll be good preparation heading into the quarter-finals.'

Wayne Fyvie (former Bok flank)

'They simply have to top Pool B. With the year we've had, this squad needs all the confidence they can get and beating all their opponents will lift the team morale. Losing a pool match is not an option for South Africa. Scotland and Samoa have been singled out as the possible contenders who can upset the Boks, but in theory we should beat them comfortably. We are by far the better side in this pool and anything less than top spot is unacceptable.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Mariette Adams