All Blacks legend makes BIG Ireland claim ahead of mammoth Springboks clash

Clash of the Titans.

Arguably the biggest game of the pool stages at this year’s Rugby World Cup takes place tonight when giants collide, as Ireland and South Africa meet in Paris.

The defending world champions, South Africa, are two from two at the World Cup so far, but so are the number one ranked team in the world, Ireland. But tonight, things will reach another entirely different level.

All the talk this week has been about South Africa’s decision to go with a 7-1 split, but the real talk should be centered around the fact that the winners of tonight’s game have to be considered favorites to go all the way once the final whistle is blown.

But who will come out on top? Springbok fans are confident, Irish fans are scared to open their mouths, and the media is completely divided. All Blacks legend Andrew Mehtrens, though, reckons Ireland have the edge heading into tonight’s game.

“They have got the bulk, they have got the strength and power to have a good go at the Boks. They will also unlock the defence better, perhaps, than the All Blacks were able to show against France or against South Africa at Twickenham,” he told the BBC 5 Live Rugby Daily podcast.

“Ireland will go in with confidence. Where I think they are phenomenal is communication. The All Blacks, for that 10-year period where they really dominated more than any other period in history with 2011 and 2015 World Cups, communication was such an unsung hero as part of their armoury.

“It enables them to go into structured play but react to what’s going on in front of them. That’s through clear, precise and accurate communication.

“Ireland have a plan that they are working to. As soon as the picture changes in front of them or there’s an opportunity, they will be able to react to that because they have got multiple runners at any given time. They are all running realistic lines.

“They are always attracting defenders and there’s always going to be an opportunity somewhere. It’s like that great Australian team that was marshalled by Stephen Larkham where he had multiple runners and it’s just the reading of the play and the communication that allows him to choose the right one.

“Look, I don’t want to write off South Africa, because they are phenomenal, they’ve got patience and they smash you, smash you, and as soon as there’s the slightest opportunity, they pounce. Whether it’s [Manie] Libbok, [Cheslin] Kolbe, [Kurt-Lee] Arendse, they have got so many different lethal players who can just pounce on any opportunity.”

And Methrens has made a big claim about Ireland – suggesting they should be considered the number one favourites to go all the way.

“People are talking a bit more about Ireland, probably still not as much as we should be,” he added.

“They really should be the first team that comes off the tongue when you’re talking about favourites for the Rugby World Cup

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