MARK KEOHANE is confident of a Bok win in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final between SA and France, underpinned by the defending champs’ power, precision and discipline.
Writing for TimesLIVE, Keohane asserts that the South Africans have a level of certainty due to their experience and success, while France, the tournament hosts, lack a similar confidence and invulnerability.
He lauds the Springboks’ experienced starting pack and backs the selections made by the Bok coaches, particularly highlighting the playmaking ability of flyhalf Manie Libbok, who can help Jacques Nienaber’s charges capitalise on Les Bleus’ uncertainty.
“There is certainty about these World Cup-winning Springboks. They have been to the biggest rugby dance of all and left with the grand prize,” Keohane writes.
“France, for all their talent and home-ground advantage, are in unfamiliar territory.”
Keohane also recognises veteran playmaker Handre Pollard’s importance off the bench on the outcome in Paris, citing his history of delivering in big matches.
“[Rassie] Erasmus will tell you that no Test match is won in the opening 20 minutes, but it can be lost in the final 20 minutes,” he writes. “History supports all the pro-Pollard brigade. The Bok No 10 has done it time and again.”
Keohane, too, expects the Boks to focus on lineout drives and mauling, led by scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, while Libbok will exploit open space.
“Libbok offers unpredictability and will add to the French uncertainty,” Keohane writes. “He also understands width and is comfortable kicking with either foot, which is a rare skill set.
“The Boks will bring power, precision and discipline and it will be a match-winning cocktail.”
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