Sat Oct 22 00:04:01 SAST 2016

Local heroes 80 minutes from glory

By unknown | Oct 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Crunch time, D-Day, day of reckoning, call it what you like but Jake White and his band of warriors are just one game - 80 minutes - away from World Cup glory.

For Springbok coach White it has been four years of meticulous planning and a string of distractions that goes with coaching a national side in South Africa.

But the culmination is a final against England at the Parc des Princes in Paris tomorrow evening.

White has been upbeat during the week after his team's comprehensive win in the semifinals over Argentina and with an injury-free squad he has gone with the same starting 15 that took on the South Americans.

One thing White has been quick to do, though, during the build-up this week, is play down the Boks' earlier pool clash with England four weeks ago.

"We are proud to get to the final but it is meaningless if we don't get the trophy," White said earlier in the week.

Of major concern to the coach, though, is the ease with which the Argentinians disrupted the South African scrum. Time and again the Pumas managed to outscrum the Boks and this week looks no easier.

England's Andrew Sheridan is widely regarded as the best tighthead prop in world rugby and CJ van der Linde will be in for a torrid evening.

But this doesn't faze Gauteng Lions coach Eugene Eloff.

Speaking to Sowetan he said: "We didn't do well against the Puma's but I'm sure the coaching staff will have tweaked a few things.

"You can be sure they will be more determined than ever to do well and expect a much improved performance."

At the back Bok fullback Percy Montgomery can expect tough opposition. Against Argentina last weekend his kicking was faultless but under the high ball he still looks susceptible and he can expect an avalanche of them tomorrow.

What could well decide the outcome of the match is the brilliance of winger Bryan Habana - who equalled the great Jonah Lomu's record of eight World Cup tries last Sunday - or perhaps the deadly boot of Jonny Wilkinson who appears to have come good at just the right time.

lSee pages 10 and 45


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT