David Rush, South Coast Herald
The Boks have arm-wrestled their way to the semi-finals. Or maybe boxed their way in. That’s what it looked like against Wales. It hasn’t been pretty.
The All Blacks, in contrast, were sublime against France in the quarter-final. They were brutally powerful, yet smooth and graceful at the same time.
Watching them play was not unlike watching Roger Federer at the peak of his powers at Wimbledon, or Tiger Woods untouchable at Augusta.
The only question that could be asked is: How weak were the French?
Would other teams have put them away like New Zealand did? Maybe.
Ireland beat them fairly comfortably. Argentina beat Ireland by a big margin (in the end). And New Zealand edged out Argentina.
It’s not perfect logic admittedly, but the suggestion then is that the All Blacks would of course wallop the beleaguered ‘Tri Colours’.
So where does this leave the Springboks?
My feeling is that the All Blacks won’t be terrified by what they have seen of the Boks so far.
For example, they have not exactly crushed anyone.
Another question worth asking is: Who in the Springbok team could honestly say he would replace his opposite number in the All Blacks team?
Maybe Fourie du Preez in his prime. Or a fully match fit Duane Vermeulen.
That’s a scary thought.
However, the whole can often be greater than the sum of its parts… and in the case of the Boks, will be absolutely necessary come match day.
What the Boks will bring is something close to a fanatical performance. Coach Heyneke Meyer is a man on the edge. He won’t settle for any slothfulness.
The other thing is that somehow the Boks do bring their A-game when they play the All Blacks.
They’re not really expected to win, and a written-off Bok can be a dangerous animal.
But if the Boks don’t dominate in the forwards (where they do match the All Blacks), it will be a runaway win for the men in black.
Time will tell.