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South Africa

  • Story Highlights
  • The Springboks are widely-tipped to challenge New Zealand for the title
  • South Africa won the tournament on their debut when they hosted it in 1995
  • The Boks finished bottom of the Tri-Nations as Jake White rested his top stars
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Pool A | World ranking: 4

art.dupreez.gi.jpg

Springboks scrum-half Fourie du Preez

Coach: Jake White
Key players: Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez
Past record: Winners 1995; Semi-finals 1999; Quarter-finals 2003

Pool A results:
September 9: South Africa 59-7 Samoa, Paris
September 14: South Africa 36-0 England, Saint-Denis
September 22:
South Africa 30-25 Tonga, Lens
September 30: South Africa 64-15 United States, Montpellier

Quarterfinals:
October 7:
South Africa 37-20 Fiji, Marseille

Semifinals:
October 14:
South Africa 37-13 Argentina, Saint-Denis

Final:
October 20:
v England, Saint-Denis 2100 (1900 GMT)

Pre-tournament preview:

South Africa have emerged as the most likely contenders for New Zealand, despite finishing bottom of the Tri-Nations this year.

The Springboks beat Australia at home and suffered a last-gasp 26-21 defeat by the All Blacks in Durban before coach Jake White decided to send a largely second-string squad for the away fixtures.

The 1995 champions again have a formidable forward pack, with huge props props CJ van der Linde and Os du Randt, lineout specialist Victor Matfield and the hard-working flanker Schalk Burger.

However, skipper John Smit has been struggling with a hamstring problem and has not played since June.

Bryan Habana will be a big threat on the wing, and center Jaque Fourie and scrum-half Fourie du Preez will be influential, but South Africa still lack a first-class fly-half.

Butch James lacks attacking nous, and may be exposed at times, while the undoubtedly talented Percy Montgomery can be somewhat inconsistent at full-back.

South Africa will be battling with England to take top spot in Group A, with the winner likely to face Wales in the quarter-finals and the runner-up to play Australia. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Fourie du PreezBryan HabanaButch JamesJake White

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