Schalk Burger: Springboks' World Cup victory earned through grit, not luck

Schalk Burger: Springboks' World Cup victory earned through grit, not luck

Springbok legend Schalk Burger has dismissed claims that South Africa were lucky to win a fourth Rugby World Cup title in France this year.

It took a tremendous effort from the Springboks during the global showpiece as they claimed one-point wins in each of their knockout games against France, England and New Zealand in the final.

There was a suggestion after the conclusion of the tournament that the side got lucky during their run-in, with the France game in particular being seen as one where the Boks got the rub of the green in terms of refereeing decisions.

But Burger feels the Springboks deserved their title after having played all the other teams in the top six of the world rankings en route to glory.

"It's so hard to say that the Boks were lucky, because this group deserves it. You know, you look at the teams we beat, you know, five of the world's top six to get there," he said on the Boks Squad podcast with Hanyani Shimange and Jean de Villiers.

"It's the toughest route any team's ever had to win a World Cup, let alone back-to-back World Cups.

"You know, if you took our pool where we played Scotland in the first game, that's the most important one. And then the intensity of that Irish game. Yes, we could have had a result fair play to Ireland. You know, they're a great side. Unfortunately for them, the quarter-final came back and knocked them out again."

Whilst Burger maintained it was not a lucky feat he did acknowledge that winning a tournament like the World Cup does require the ball to bounce your way.

"But I guess where the lucky part comes from is like so often we've been involved in World Cups, Jean, and you play so well, you take our quarter-final against Australia back in 2011, and we come up two points short.

"The tightness of those games and certain calls that go your way, or Handre Pollard's magnificent kick in the semi-final. You know, sometimes it's just your time.

"You know, things happen and it goes your way and the Boks had a lot of stuff roll their way in those big games. Whether that's through preparation or, you know, is it divine intervention, is it your time? We don't know. But you can't say that we're lucky."

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