Former Springbok Brendan Venter believes this weekend’s match between the All Blacks and Boks in Wellington could be vital for confidence ahead of the World Cup.
The Springboks return to Wellington on Saturday, where they claimed their first victory in New Zealand since 2009 last year.
The match will also take on extra significance as the two teams face off later this year in the Pool B opener at the World Cup in Japan.
In his column for Stuff.co.nz, Venter writes that the outcome of the game could give either side a massive mental boost ahead of the clash in September.
‘All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has said Saturday’s clash at the Cake Tin has nothing to do with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but he’s wrong in my opinion,’ Venter writes. ‘It has everything to do with the showpiece event because building belief is immense ahead of the Pool B encounter in Yokohama on 21 September.
‘Even if the Boks don’t beat the All Blacks on Saturday, the non-negotiable is that it is another fighting, competitive performance from Erasmus’ men. The critical aspect is that, with 10 minutes to go, the visitors must be within a score of winning the Test.’
Venter says the results from last weekend’s opening round of the Rugby Championship suggested that the Boks could well be heading into this Saturday’s battle as favourites.
‘The Springboks delivered some good rugby at Ellis Park and played with great intensity in the process. Meanwhile, all things being equal, the All Blacks should have lost [against Argentina].
‘With New Zealand having struggled against Argentina in Buenos Aires, neutral observers would almost say that the Springboks could go into the Rugby World Cup dress rehearsal against the All Blacks as favourites.’
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