Springboks World Cup winner predicts clean sweep over Welsh opposition this weekend
Springboks World Cup winner Joel Stransky is predicting a South African clean sweep in this weekend’s second round of United Rugby Championship matches against Welsh opposition.
The man who landed the decisive drop goal in the 1995 World Cup final against New Zealand was on TV commentary duty for SuperSport as Cardiff pulled off a remarkable 35-0 victory over the Cell C Sharks in Durban last weekend.
He is full of praise for the way Dai Young’s team performed at Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium and offers particular plaudits to scrum-half Lloyd Willliams, the Player of the Match.
But he feels they will find it tougher against the Vodacom Bulls at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld this Saturday and expects the Sharks to bounce back by beating the Ospreys, while he’s also backing the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions to get the better of the Dragons and Scarlets respectively.
Speaking on a BKT URC Round Table, along with Welsh legend Shane Williams, former Natal fly-half Stransky first reflected on watching Cardiff’s startling win in rain-lashed Durban last Sunday.
“I had to commentate on the game and I can tell you it was hard work. It was tough and it was sad in a way,” he said.
“Obviously Dai Young did a great job with the Cardiff team and Lloyd Williams just bossed the game from scrum-half. He controlled the territory and in those conditions that’s probably the most important factor.
“Cardiff were up for it and the Sharks just didn’t pitch up. There was no real desire, no real motivation, no game-plan. They just didn’t offer anything at all.
“It’s easy to say they went in without their Springboks, but they still had a number of talented players on that field. It was a really poor performance.”
That heavy home defeat was followed by Sharks head coach Sean Everitt stepping down from his post.
Stransky commented: “I feel for Sean a little bit, but at the end of the day, when you have got that many massive big names in your squad and so much talent around and you are not winning tournaments and you are losing 35-0, something is bound to break.”
The former Leicester playmaker is now expecting a response from the Sharks when they host the Ospreys on Friday evening, as he gives his predictions for the coming weekend.
“I think they will bounce back a little bit and I also think, for Cardiff, going into Loftus might be a little bit tougher. The Bulls will be quite resolute up on the highveld. They are quite physical. So I am going to go for a weekend of South African wins.”
The 22-times capped Stransky has also been giving his thoughts on the BKT United Rugby Championship in terms of how the tournament is going down in his homeland.
“We have loved being part of it, we have loved the change, with the different time periods, the fuller rugby season,” he said.
“We loved seeing the Kiwi and Aussie players come to our shores in Super Rugby, but for our players to travel 13 hours to New Zealand, with massive time differences and long tours, it was arduous and it was tough.
“It’s a lot easier going north. There are lots of advantages to playing in the northern hemisphere from the financial perspective, TV rights, ease of travel, spreading the game. I just think it works better for us.
“There is something really special about it and I think the players have embraced it. If you chat to the players, they are loving the BKT URC . The level of competition in the northern hemisphere is really high.
“The Sharks have just lost to a Welsh side 35-0. That sort of tells a story. A few weeks ago, we would have bet on the South African teams beating all the Welsh sides. So it is rapidly changing.”
But, nevertheless, Stransky believes it will be four out of four for the home sides in the Rainbow Nation this weekend.
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Pretty safe bet that with their Boks back and Ospreys missing 20 of their best players the Sharks will do better tonight but ….Who knows?