What it will take for the All Blacks to ‘starve the Springboks’

The Rugby World Cup final is upon us and the pundits’ predictions are incredibly tight. Neutral heads are relatively evenly split while of course, the two competing nations are backing their respective teams to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time. History is inevitable in Paris.


The All Blacks will face a much improved Springboks outfit in the championship game, and neither team is underestimating how important the battle will be up front.

The Springboks’ decisive and historic 35-7 triumph over the opposition the last time the two teams faced off was due in large part to the set piece.

The change in discipline has been obvious and unmistakably contributed to New Zealand’s victory over Ireland in the quarterfinals, a team that had defeated South Africa earlier in the tournament.

The All Blacks were extremely vulnerable to Ireland’s discipline, which was a significant strength going into the competition. That was reversed by New Zealand in the opening round of the knockout stages.

“Well, the (All Blacks) were the most penalized team, and they’ve entered the knockout stages with very, very precise defensive discipline, which has been the difference for them thus far.

“A definite, overwhelming difference in the semifinal. I simply believe that both of these teams are so evenly matched overall, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses, therefore the outcome of this game will simply depend on how many opportunities you give the enemy.

Parsons’ analysis was echoed by his co-panelist, Bryn Hall. The former Super Rugby champion was equally as adamant that discipline would determine the game and also highlighted the importance of matching the Springboks’ imposing bench unit.

“The only thing that will get us in trouble is our discipline,” Hall said.

“We’ve lost Test matches, especially early on, if we give four or five penalties away and they have that scoreboard pressure, being able to tick away, whether that’s (Handre) Pollard or (Manie) Libbok in there, getting the three points, six points and being able to build pressure.

“I believe that’s when we start to sense a little strain, but in this knockout stage, it seems that we’ve got our discipline down pat. But if they don’t get it right, there will be lots of those “what if” scenarios.

It will also be huge if we can halt the bomb squad in the final 30 minutes. If the game is close, we’ve demonstrated enough with the addition of our bench that we can negate that, as well as their attempts to win set piece penalties, create scoreboard pressure, enter the 22-meter zone and engage in a lineout maul, or build with their forward pack.

“I believe that if we do those things correctly, it will be a good outcome for us.”

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