Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Recent history will count for nothing against All Blacks, say Boks

The Boks will go into the World Cup final after registering one point wins in both their knockout out clashes against France and England.

Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids admitted that it is set to be an exciting build up as the Boks prepare to face their biggest rival the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final at the Stade de France on Saturday night.

The Boks edged England 16-15 in an extremely tight semifinal, while the All Blacks hammered Argentina 44-6 in their knockout clash, to setup a dream final between the top two ranked teams in world rugby.

ALSO READ: Boks smash and grab semi win over England – Five key moments

It is set to be a record breaking final as both the Boks and All Blacks have won three Webb Ellis cups each, while if the Bok triumph it would be just the second time a team has been able to go back-to-back after the All Blacks did it in 2011 and 2015.

“It is a fantastic and exciting week that lies ahead of us. Our battles with the All Blacks … there is a lot of history between us,” said Davids on Sunday.

“We have played them a couple of times this year but going into a World Cup final I don’t think any of those previous encounters count. It is a totally new game, under new circumstances, playing for the World Cup. We will have to be on top of our plan and our execution this week.

“You can see that throughout the competition New Zealand have been playing excellent rugby. They are also in a really good space, so it is going to be a hard-fought battle on Saturday and we need to make sure we tick a lot of boxes in our preparation.”

One point wins

The Boks have now managed one point wins in both their knockout out clashes, after they were superb in beating France 29-28 in the quarterfinals, while they were largely dreadful and bailed out by their bench against England.

The team looked spent in their semifinal clash and they will need to lift up their energy and intensity considerably if they want to beat the in-form All Blacks in the final.

“If you can get a better result early on and see the score clearly, it would obviously be the best position to be in, but this is a World Cup and we have played against teams in excellent form,” explained Davids.

“Last week it was France at home … I don’t think it gets bigger than that … and this week a formidable England team that pitched up and really played very well. We really had to battle it out.

“But applause for our players for turning things around. It is a testament of the character of the players. I’ve been in these types of situations a couple of times, understanding how we operate as a squad, whether you start or whether you come off the bench, trying to adapt and making plans on the run.

“We are just glad that we turned things around last week and this week, and hopefully this week (in the final) we won’t be in a similar situation but it will still be a tough battle.”

Met twice

The Boks and All Blacks have already met twice this year, with the All Blacks triumphing 35-20 in Auckland in the Rugby Championship, while the Boks picked up a record 35-7 win in their most recent match at Twickenham just before the World Cup.

Despite the confidence the Boks will take from that result, Davids admitted that the coming match would be completely different with either side able to take it on the day.

“It will be a completely different game. Both teams will have learned a lot of lessons. New Zealand is playing excellent rugby. We will see where we can outsmart each other,” said Davids.

“This will be a new game under new circumstances, playing for the top prize in world rugby. If you look back too far and not be in the moment, we will fool ourselves. Our focus will be on what we have to do and to keep in mind we are facing a formidable opponent.”

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