Big wave of Bok confidence

2011-10-07 09:11

Cape Town – Some 58% of the more than 9 000 Sport24 readers to have responded to a poll thus far believe that South Africa will safely negotiate all three possible remaining hurdles and become the first team to retain the Rugby World Cup.

We posed the question this week, following their safe passage out of the pool phase: “How far will the Springboks progress?”

And a clear majority chose the “overall winners” option, meaning that they expect the Boks not only to be quarter-final winners against
Australia in Wellington on Sunday, but also semi-final victors (over likely opponents the All Blacks) and then triumphant in the showpiece against northern hemisphere opposition on red-letter day ... Sunday, October 23.

Only 20% of respondents picked “They’ll lose in the quarter-final” as their preferred option, with a further 17% saying “beaten semi-finalists” and much more insignificant 5% choosing “They’ll lose in the final”.

Of course patriotism may well be regarded as a strong factor in the poll by neutrals contemplating the outcome, but the Boks are a rung higher (in second) on the IRB ladder than the Wallabies at present.

And there is only fairly measured optimism in Australia, it seems, about the likelihood of James Horwill’s men prevailing on Sunday, despite the Wallabies boasting wins in all three most recent contests against South Africa.

A particularly in-depth preview of the quarter-final in the influential Sydney Morning Herald newspaper this week, for instance, concluded with a reluctant forecast that the Boks would squeeze in by a two-point margin.

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

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