Former Bok greats back southern hemisphere to dominate at Rugby World Cup

Former Bok greats back southern hemisphere to dominate at Rugby World Cup

Springbok legends Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield believe it will be a clean sweep for the southern hemisphere sides in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

The former Springbok duo delved into the draw and predicted everything from the pool stage qualifiers to the eventual winner.

They mapped out the respective teams' path through and came up with a last-eight, which sees England taking on Australia, France hosting South Africa, New Zealand facing Ireland and Argentina going head-to-head with Wales.

De Villiers and Matfield picked the four Rugby Championship outfits over their Six Nations counterparts to create semi-final contests between South Africa and Australia, and New Zealand and Argentina.

The last time the World Cup last-four was completely made up of southern hemisphere sides was in 2015 when the All Blacks faced the Springboks, and the Wallabies took on Los Pumas.

"There's going to be a lot of 2015 (about it). They pushed to have northern hemisphere teams winning the World Cup this year, and I don't think that's going to happen," De Villiers told Betway South Africa.

"I think there will be four southern hemisphere teams in the semi-final."

Matfield was in full agreement, stating: "I'm with you", while De Villiers revealed the reasons behind his thinking.

They believe that the Boks will finish top of Pool B, which has been nicknamed the ˜pool of death' as it features fellow top five teams Ireland and Scotland.

The group also contains a Tonga outfit that several former All Blacks and Wallabies have boosted.

"I think Ireland is a massive threat, and Scotland is a massive threat, while Tonga can cause an upset, but the fact that we're playing Scotland first puts us in a very strong position," De Villiers said.

"All the focus will be on Scotland. We get a win there, and then suddenly all the pressure goes to Ireland as they need to beat us and Scotland.

"It might work to our advantage the way that the games have been rolled out. If we beat Ireland as well, then it becomes Ireland versus Scotland to go through."

Quarter-final opponentIf the Boks are to reach the semis, De Villiers predicts that they would have to oust the hosts in the quarter-final, with Les Bleus finishing below New Zealand in Pool A.

The French are a much-fancied side, but the former centre insists that the injury to Romain Ntamack has altered his thinking.

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