Springboks

Habana: 2019 RWC is the tightest we've had to call

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Bryan Habana speaking at the launch of Team Habana in Cape Town on Thursday (Photo supplied)
Bryan Habana speaking at the launch of Team Habana in Cape Town on Thursday (Photo supplied)

Cape Town - Springbok legend Bryan Habana revealed that the upcoming Rugby World Cup is going to be the tightest ever to predict.

Habana believes that next month's tournament is wide open and claims that there are six teams capable of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

Earlier this year, the former winger was quoted by Stuff.co.nz saying that he backed the All Blacks to win three World Cups in a row.

Since then, the All Blacks have lost their No 1 ranking for the first time since 2009, they lost the Rugby Championship and suffered a defeat to the Wallabies this month.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Habana had a change of heart: "It is probably the tightest Rugby World Cup we've ever had to call.

"If you look at the top six teams in world rugby at the moment: you've got Wales who have just overtaken New Zealand as the No 1-ranked side.

"You've got New Zealand - back-to-back World Cup winners going into this competition as reigning champions, and South Africa's Rugby Championship form has been incredible and really promising from a South African perspective.

"I think whoever is at their best for that eight-week period, winning games against the best teams in the world will go on to win it."

The Boks kick off their World Cup campaign against defending champions and pre-tournament favourites New Zealand in Yokohama on September 21.

"I'll be backing my South African jersey, hoping that Siya Kolisi and the boys can go out and do something special," added Habana, who played 124 Tests for the Boks from 2004-2016.

Springboks' 31-man Rugby World Cup squad:

Forwards (17)

Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (captain, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Backs (14)

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S'bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)

rwc 2019

Compiled by: Lynn Butler

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