Ireland Rugby World Cup

The Ireland rugby team are on an impressive winning streak. Photo: SABC Sport

Why this former Springbok captain backs Ireland to win the Rugby World Cup

Ahead of the final round of pool games, one former Bok captain has tipped Ireland to win the Rugby World Cup final.

Ireland Rugby World Cup

The Ireland rugby team are on an impressive winning streak. Photo: SABC Sport

South African rugby legend Francois Pienaar is confident Ireland can win the Rugby World Cup, by beating the Springboks in the final.

Speaking exclusively to the Irish Mirror, he said: “Listen, if you get to the World Cup final, you can win it, absolutely you can win it.”

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The 1995 World Cup-winning captain has become a famous motivational speaker and leadership coach since leaving the rugby field, and was in Belfast this week for the One Young World conference.

“I think Ireland will beat Scotland on Saturday,” he added.

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“[Having won] 15 games in a row, there is a great culture in the team – the spine is really strong. And when I talk about the spine I’m talking about the guys who touch the ball more than other players. [The team] is really gelling nicely.”

Ireland have also edged into the favourites’ slot ahead of South Africa with the bookies, with France, New Zealand and England taking up third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

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“Bookmakers, you can’t trust them!” Pienaar joked. “Before the World Cup, I called a South Africa final. There were two permutations, South Africa and Ireland or South Africa and France, but I had South Africa vs Ireland, of course.”

Pienaar says that should that scenario play out, Ireland have every chance of winning the final.

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“You’ve beaten the best teams, you’re going to have some special support.”

Ireland face Scotland on Saturday (kick-off 21h00) in their final Pool B fixture. Provided France beat Italy in Pool A on Friday, Ireland are likely to face New Zealand in the quarter-finals.