RWC 2023: Banyana sing Boks’ praises ahead of SA’s brutal Rugby World Cup battle against New Zealand

RWC 2023: Banyana sing Boks’ praises ahead of SA’s brutal Rugby World Cup battle against New Zealand

South Africa and New Zealand have clashed numerous times over the years. But only once in a Rugby World Cup (RWC) final. It ended in a marginal 15-12 victory for the Springboks on home soil.   

New Zealand are peaking at the right time after coming into the France-hosted 2023 tournament in indifferent form, by their extremely high standards at least. In their semifinal, they brushed aside a decent Argentina outfit 44-6 to reach the final.

As for the Boks, they squeezed 16-15 past England in their last-four clash. Things were just as tight as they edged hosts France 29-28 in the quarterfinals.  

Banyana vs DRC

Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa during the Women’s World Cup Group G match against Italy at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand on 2 August 2023. (Photo: Lars Baron / Getty Images)

Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana, who played a starring role as South Africa’s senior women’s soccer side made history by reaching the knockout rounds of a Fifa World Cup, lauded the fighting spirit of the Bok team.

“What the Boks are doing is inspiring. Not just for me personally, but the rest of the country. It’s always difficult when you win a trophy and have to defend it. Because everyone is gunning for you,” Kgatlana told journalists on the eve of the final.  

“But their attitude and the way they carry themselves on the field, never giving up until the last minute, that’s something that each and every individual in South Africa has to take and keep at the back of their minds,” added the fleet-footed forward.

Indeed, the Boks have shown great tenacity and fight to reach a second consecutive World Cup final. They can become only the second side after New Zealand to defend the trophy.

They are also aiming to break free from the All Blacks in terms of World Cups won. Currently, the two teams are tied on three Webb Ellis Cups apiece. Whoever wins the titanic battle at Stade de France will move to four World Cups.

Gabriela Salgado

Gabriela Salgado of South Africa during the Cosafa Women’s Championship match against Malawi at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on 28 September 2021 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images)

“Yes, it’s a tough opponent. Throughout the group stages, all the way to the final – even though it has not been easy – they have gone out there and fought for us as a nation,” Gabriela Salgado told Daily Maverick before Banyana’s training session on Friday.  

“Each and every one of the South Africans is behind them and we believe that it’s possible [to win]. The Bok T-shirts have even run out. So, they must just go out there and give their best. They have our full support,” the forward added.

Interestingly, the Springboks have never lost a World Cup final. They made it to the decider during the 1995, 2007 and 2019 editions. New Zealand won in 1987, 2011 and 2015. The only final they lost was the defeat to South Africa in 1995.

As such, the clash is evenly poised. There will be no room error from either said. Otherwise, they will be punished.  

Desiree Ellis, Head Coach of South Africa

…. to be continued
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