DURBAN – As the kick-off between the Springboks and All Blacks in Yokohama draws tantalisingly nearer, neither team wants to adopt the favourites tag, and Bok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk predicts that the game will be decided on the bounce of the ball.
It is going to be that close and just maybe, as the Boks have been at pains to point out this week, referee Jerome Garces of France will be the deciding factor.
“In the last four games between us and the All Blacks, there have been just two points in it,” De Klerk said. “We’re confident that we can win, but I think this game is going to be 50/50.
“I don’t think we’re the favourites, but I’m not going to say that we’re not the favourites either. We know it’s going to be a tight game. It’s going to come down to a lucky moment or a refereeing call. We will have to take every opportunity we get.”
Garces is one of a procession of “Mr Bean” referees from France who are infuriating in their clumsy efforts, but he at least makes brave calls, as we saw in the Bledisloe Cup match between the All Blacks and Wallabies earlier this year, won handsomely by the Australians.