Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams expects a tight clash between two “serious contenders” South Africa and Ireland in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.
It is set to be a brilliant clash; between the first-placed team in the world and the second-placed one, who are also the reigning world champions. Rugby fans could not ask for a more intriguing game to decide the eventual winners of Pool B.
In normal Springboks fashion head coach Jacques Nienaber has named his line-up early which included a controversial 7-1 split on the bench which has divided opinion as Irish legend Keith Wood expressed his concerns with the selection.
Two teams who know their identity
For Williams, the game is a difficult one to pick, so much so that he described it as a coin toss in a Stan Sport segment. The former offloading supremo believes both sides have a clear identity to their game but sided with South Africa because of his family ties.
“I can’t pick between the two, they’re both serious contenders. Big, strong, physical… [and] depth,” Williams told Stan Sport.
“They both know their DNA; when you’re watching them play they both know exactly what type of style suits them.
“We’ve got the South African team that have got finishers now. I honestly believe that SA are a better team than they were four years ago, as scary as that sounds.
“Just because of the finishers that they have and the experience that they’ve got from the previous World Cup.
“But Ireland, man… that forward pack, that loose-forward trio, that tight five, that subtle skills that they have… they play that real flat in-your-face style which builds momentum and causes gaps. And they know how to play their game of attrition.
“Man, it’s a coin toss this week’s game, it’s a coin toss. I’m going to have to go with SA just because my wife’s South African and I’ve got South African kids. Just like that!”
Sean Maloney tracks down SBW to break down the match of the tournament, South Africa v Ireland 🔥 A clash of the titans, who takes the points?
— Stan Sport Rugby (@StanSportRugby) September 20, 2023