TWICKENHAM: The Springboks have billed Saturday’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand as the game of their lives, adding another chapter to the tumultuous history between the two rugby superpowers.
At stake on the Twickenham ground on Saturday is a place in the final against the winner of Sunday’s semi-final between Australia and Argentina
Senior Springboks Fourie du Preez and Schalk Burger, who both helped South Africa win the 2007 World Cup, met in a Japanese club room nearly 12 months ago to begin plotting how to beat their ultimate rival.
The match holds extra significance for Burger as not only is it a World Cup knockout match but it will be the last time he will front up against his long-time back-row opponent Richie McCaw, with the New Zealand captain indicating he will retire from Test duty at the end of the tournament.
South Africa and New Zealand are two of rugby’s greatest rivals and Springbok skipper du Preez said it was evident when the World Cup draw was made that they would likely meet in the semi-finals.
Scrum-half du Preez, capped 75 times and flanker Burger, a veteran of 84 internationals, were playing for Suntory in Japan last November when they first sat down to plan how to beat the All Blacks
“It’s a massive, massive game if not the biggest game of my life and Schalk’s and we’ve been around quite a bit,” said du Preez. “Myself and Schalk were in Japan together, from the end of November and we were talking about this game after training, so we’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.
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