Bakkies Botha was always in the thick of things. Photo: Getty Images.
Another Rugby World Cup is upon us and these days the All Blacks are not automatic favourites, according to Springbok legend Bakkies Botha, who believes South Africa have a very good chance of upstaging the defending champions in their titanic clash in Yokohama on Saturday.
“The margins are so small these days in international rugby and I think it’s going to be the most unpredictable World Cup ever, I think we’re going to see a few surprises and upsets. No team really stands out and you wouldn’t say the All Blacks are in great form or definitely top of the log. The gap to them has closed dramatically, especially by the Springboks.
“I think we have got one mentally over them now, a seed has definitely been planted in their minds by us beating them at home, they’ll be thinking ‘they’ve got our numbers’. So I’m very positive about Saturday’s game, I think we’re going to get on top of them. But even if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world and we’ll play them in the first game and maybe the last game. There’s no better game to watch than Springboks/All Blacks,” Botha told The Citizen.
There will be many different languages spoken at the World Cup, but the words ‘Bakkies Botha’ will be synonymous with massive physical presence amongst all the teams.
The enforcer lock in South Africa’s 2007 world Cup triumph believes, however, that more cerebral qualities will also play a big role for the Springboks in this campaign.
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“Rassie Erasmus is a very clever coach, I played against him so I know how clever he is, and he knows how to handle every player to get the best out of them. Rassie has ticked all the boxes and if you think back to the 2015 World Cup and where we were compared to today – it’s two different teams and approaches. It’s much more positive now,” Botha said.
One of the most passionate players to ever pull on the Green and Gold – and he did it 87 times – Botha’s enthusiasm for this World Cup to now get underway knows no bounds.
“I’m getting goosebumps just talking about Saturday’s game! I’ve been getting up every morning and thinking ‘Can the days just pass please because I’m ready to go now?’ Let’s go!” Botha said.
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