Springbok legends Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers preview SA v Ireland

Ex Springbok captains Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers
Ex Springbok captains Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers

Former Springboks captains Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield join Ireland legend and Betway ambassador Peter Stringer to preview the highly anticipated clash between South Africa and Ireland. Here are some of the insights they shared:

Assessing the Tournament So Far

Victor Matfield (VM): The competition has been intense, and there are only a few teams that seem capable of winning it. For me, South Africa, France, Ireland, and maybe the All Blacks are the frontrunners. England has also caught my attention, despite their conservative style of play. Their patience and ability to capitalize on opportunities make them a potential threat.

Standout Players

Peter Stringer (PS): One player who has impressed me is Bundee Aki. He's shown tremendous attitude and development in his game, addressing past disciplinary issues and becoming a key go-forward option for Ireland.

(VM): George Ford of England has been outstanding, particularly in challenging situations like playing with 14 men against Argentina. His control and tactical kicking have put England on the front foot.

Confidence Ahead of the South Africa vs. Ireland Game

Jean de Villiers (JDV): Confidence is hard to come by in such a tight matchup. It'll likely come down to a few decisions and a bit of luck. The contrasting styles of the Springboks' defense and Ireland's attack will determine the outcome.

(PS): While Ireland has shown the ability to play at a high level, doubts linger about discipline and set pieces. However, their recent victories over South Africa and New Zealand give me confidence they can perform on the big stage.

Key Players for Victory

(PS): Johnny Sexton's importance to Ireland cannot be overstated. If the forwards provide front-foot ball, Sexton's leadership and decision-making will be crucial.

(JDV): South Africa's fullback, whether it's Damian Willemse or Willie Le Roux, will play a critical role. Decision-making at the back, handling attacking kicks, and contributing to the kicking game will be vital.

Facing France or New Zealand in the Quarter-Finals

(PS): Between France and New Zealand, New Zealand might be the preferred opponent based on their performance in the early stages of the tournament. They showed some vulnerabilities, especially in their kicking game.

(VM): Historically, New Zealand has been a tough opponent for South Africa, but something seems amiss in their team currently. So, at this stage, facing New Zealand might be the preference.

As the Rugby World Cup 2023 unfolds, the competition is till wide open, and every match promises excitement and surprises. The clash between South Africa and Ireland on Saturday looms large, and fans around the world eagerly await this pivotal showdown in the quest for rugby's ultimate prize.