Benedict Chanakira gives us his previews on our opponents in the EOYT.
Wales – Has to be the best side in the Northern Hemisphere. The current Six Nations champions. Warren Gatland has a youthful side that poses some serious threats for any opposition. We won’t forget how Wales came close to beating the Springboks at the 2011 world Cup. The bulk of the successful British and Irish Lions team being Welsh. This is the toughest game for the Springboks on tour on the basis of France’s unpredictability. A win would set the tone for the tour.
Players to watch: George North and Leigh Halfpenny
Scotland – Earlier in the year they managed to push the Boks. It wasn’t until the last few minutes that their wheels fell off. A competitive side, one that has managed to beat the Springboks and Australia in recent years. Scotland will have Murrayfield on their side; they will want to test themselves against this Springbok side. An opportunity for Heyneke Meyer to test some young, hungry players. No chance of an upset, a big win for the Boks on the cards. Johnsons’ side continues to improve are on a steady rise.
Player to watch: Greg Laidlaw
France - The unpredictable side. You never quite know what you will get with this side. They can be horribly bad and magnificently brilliant. They have the players to be a force in world rugby, they have the flair but they never manage to be consistent. Horrible in the Six Nations and under estimating them would be a mistake. Who would have thought they were going to make the 2011 World Cup final after losing to Tonga? The Springboks must play their strongest side to ensure they stamp their authority. Whatever French team we play, we must pitch up to play!
Player to watch: Louis Picamoles
We have to admit, the gap is closing and the Northern sides are getting better. However with the recently completed Rugby Championship; are the Boks a level up? Cementing their spot as the planets second best side having pushed the All blacks all the way only to lose in the dying minutes.
The All Blacks are the best in the Universe, only the Boks will be able to topple them according to recent displays. On tour I expect the coach to try some players for the future. A lack of depth in the prop department (back up for loosehead and tighthead) will need some reinforcements there. Will any of the youngsters raise their hands if they get the call?
The future looks bright for SA rugby and the Springboks should finish the tour undefeated. We just need to integrate both youth and experience the way New Zealand has done it. With more talent than most countries in the world we must surely be invincible.