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Rassie keeps it simple


If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it.

If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it.

The Springboks, in the World Cup final against England, will play exactly the same way they have done through out the tournament. They will rely on the strength of their set piece and look to the famed ‘bomb squad’ to provide impact in the last 30 minutes.

Faf de Klerk will kick more than he will pass.

There were no surprises with Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’ selections for the final.

Erasmus has been consistent in the match-day squads he has chosen for the Rugby Championship, the opening World Cup match against the All Blacks and also the play-off matches against Japan and Wales.

Erasmus has been clear in his player identification, but what has changed during the World Cup is how he has evolved his thinking with some players, who a few months ago were regular starters but are now finishing the game.

Hooker Malcolm Marx, in particular, has added a dimension to the Boks when coming off the bench and Erasmus has relied exclusively on a power forward unit that has no equal in the game, when it comes to the standard of substitutes. Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Marx and RG Snyman would start in every other international team and Erasmus has been brilliant in how he has used his forwards.

England haven’t faced a pack as good as South Africa’s.

Erasmus, early in the World Cup, reverted to a ‘six forwards and two backs’ substitutes bench and he may even have been tempted to go ‘seven-one’ when Cheslin Kolbe was declared fit.

Kolbe could provide cover at scrumhalf.

Kolbe’s return makes the Springboks more dangerous. Sbu Nkosi is a fantastic player and he played well in the semi-final against Wales, but Kolbe’s just got something magical about him. He has the ability to break open the most structured of defences because of his footwork and explosiveness over the first 10 metres.

The Bok backs against Wales looked fairly one-dimensional on attack, but very effective defensively. Damian de Allende has enjoyed a massive tournament and for the Springbok to win, he will again have to break tackles, make metres and win the collisions. He gives the Boks such value at the moment and in every match he has built momentum with his strong and direct running.

I hope Frans Steyn is introduced into the match much earlier than has been the case in the play-offs. Steyn remains such an influential player. He was just 20 years-old when he starred at inside centre in the 2007 World Cup final and his goalkicking and drop-kicking qualities mean you want him on the field in the second half.

The Boks, in 2016, were conceding 27 points on average a game. This year it’s 11 points a game.

England are the bookmakers’ favourites, but I have the Boks to win an ugly game by five points.