Boks' 'frightening' depth backed to cause problems at Rugby World Cup

Boks' 'frightening' depth backed to cause problems at Rugby World Cup

Former England wing Ugo Monye believes that South Africa will be difficult to beat at this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

Jacques Nienaber's men will be seeking to defend the title they won in 2019, where they defeated the Red Rose 32-12 in the showpiece event in Japan.

Alongside Ireland, New Zealand and the hosts, the Springboks are among the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup this time around.

Those hopes took a slight hit following their 35-20 Rugby Championship defeat to the All Blacks, but Monye has backed them to come good in September.

"They're the defending champions and I don't think there are many teams in the world that have the squad depth to compete with them," he told TNT Sports.

"Their team is frightening. The quality they have from one to 15 and beyond is world-class.

"They have the fundamentals of the game nailed down: set-piece, kicking and defence that is impregnable at times.

"The other thing, which needs a bit of myth-busting, is their attack. Last year they averaged three tries a game, so they are more dangerous with ball in hand than people give them credit for.

"They've got one of the best wingers in the game in Cheslin Kolbe, and Damian Willemse - wherever he plays - is an absolute baller!

"When you look at their forward pack they have a size and physicality that, when they're at their best, not many teams in the world can stop them."

What's clear after the last two weeks, however, is that the Springbok coaches will need to be more careful in managing their impressive squad and deciding on which combinations to start and which players to use on the bench.

That's something they did very well in Japan four years ago, and it's worth remembering that the split-squad experiment for the matches against the Wallabies and All Blacks was part of a valuable fact-finding mission that has no doubt given them a lot of answers to some of their lingering questions.

The Springboks begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland in Marseille on 10 September.