WHEN the Springboks and French clash at Newlands, Cape Town, tomorrow, the best of the northern hemisphere will be up against the best of the southern hemisphere.
The South Africans justifiably carry the tag of No 1 team in the world with the Tri-Nations trophy and a Lions series victory in the bag from last year.
France, on the other hand, are current Six Nations champions and a side who have had the better of the Boks in recent encounters.
Which could explain why Bok coach Pieter de Villiers has roped in 80-Test veteran Os du Randt to help out with the scrums.
"The French are always a very physical side and they look like they are going to target our set pieces," Cheetahs coach and former Springbok hooker Naka Drotske told Sowetan yesterday.
And if anyone should know, it is Drotske, who went into the battle with the rugged French on a couple of occasions.
"You can't give them any space and have to close them down quickly. That way you create doubt within," Drotske says.
Although it is not quite a full-strength French side playing tomorrow due to injuries and the fact that they are approaching the end of their season, the experience upfront is sure to test the Boks.
Dimitri Szarzewski in the front row has 44 caps to his name and Thierry Dusautoir will lead the side from the scrum. Both bring a wealth of experience.
On the opposite side of the scrum will be new cap Wenceslas Lauret, who will be up against Francois Louw, which is guaranteed to be a bruising battle.
But Drotske says it is the unpredictability of the French that makes them difficult to take on.
"You never know what to expect from the French. They can be very good at home but playing away they are unpredictable.
"They are an underrated side but the experience of the Springboks should see the home side win.
"If you look at the Boks they have five or six players with World Cup experience and they will be calling on that knowledge on Saturday afternoon."
l The match will be shown live at 2pm on SuperSport1 and on SABC2 at 5pm.