Boks revved up for World Cup blockbuster

Damian de Allende is gearing up for a monster duel in midfield, while Steven Kitshoff anticipates a fierce contest in the scrum when the Boks and Ireland clash on Saturday.

In what promises to be a titanic clash between the world’s top two teams, the Springboks and Ireland are set to lock horns in a highly-anticipated World Cup Pool B showdown at a jam-packed Stade de France.

With both teams undefeated in their opening two matches, a victory this weekend could potentially secure the top spot in the group and influence the path to the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.

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Inside centre De Allende will face off with Ireland’s formidable Bundee Aki in Saint-Denis. De Allende, who has previously faced Aki during his time at Munster, acknowledges the Irishman’s exceptional form and the challenge that lies ahead.

“He’s always been up there with the best 12s in the world,” De Allende told reporters on Friday during a Bok media conference.

“I have played against him a few times at Munster but I don’t think he played in the game for Ireland at the Aviva [Stadium] last year. He is a fantastic player.

“I know it’s his 50th cap [on Saturday] and he’s going to be raring to go but I’m looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we won’t disappoint each other.”

Kitshoff, who has gained valuable experience facing Irish clubs in the Vodacom URC, recognises Ireland anchor Tadhg Furlong as an exceptional player and tough opponent.

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“It’s going to be a tough battle,” the loosehead prop said. “I think the URC was brilliant, especially for us South African teams, getting a lot of experience playing against guys at Ulster, Munster and Leinster, trying to figure out how to get victories against strong Irish teams.

“I think we understand a bit of the mentality and with Jacques and Rassie and Jean [Kleyn] and RG [Snyman] being in Ireland, you get a better understanding. It is all about getting the prep right in the week to make sure we can perform on Saturday.”

“Tadhg is an exceptional player – good scrummager, great ball carrier, good on defence. It’s going to be a tough battle. For us to have a full go at them, we all have to be on par, our pack and the guys off the bench.”

“In big games like this, if your set-piece doesn’t function you are on the back foot, but we have trained hard since we got together in the pre-season camps, trying to improve our scrummage, so we are looking forward to the challenge.”

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