Springbok captain John Smit welcomed South Africa’s tough draw for the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup as the ideal preparation to battle harden the team for the tournament’s later stages, if they should progress.
SA Rugby reports that the Springboks were drawn in Pool D with Wales and Fiji as well as qualifiers from Oceania and Africa in a grouping that Smit said was similar to the 2007 draw.
“Last time we were drawn against the top team from Britain – which was then England – and this time we have been drawn against Wales who are the Six Nations champions,” said Smit.
“We also played two teams from the Pacific Islands and this time we have Fiji and an Oceania qualifier, which is very likely to be Samoa. The draw has a similar feel to last time and the good thing is that we will be well tested during the competition.
“You don’t want to breeze through your pool and we certainly won’t have that luxury.”
Should South Africa top their pool they will play the runners-up in Pool C, featuring Australia, Ireland and Italy and two qualifiers from Europe and the Americas. If the Springboks finish second they will play the winners of the Pool C.
“It’s a tough draw and it will be a very physical pool but I’m happy with the draw,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers. “We’ll be monitoring these nations progress over the coming months but we know what they are capable of when they are on song.
“Wales will only go from strength to strength and we know the Pacific Islands produce outstanding players – e only have to look back to last year’s World Cup to know what a threat they can pose.”
According the seedings the Springboks would then meet New Zealand in the semi-finals if both teams top their pools and win their quarter-finals.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” said Smit. “All I know is that it is a good Pool as you need a fair amount of testing in this competition.”
De Villiers and Smit were in attendance when the draw was made in London on Monday.Tweet