The Springboks may boast a formidable Bomb Squad that can end tough matches for South Africa in the second half, but according to Dalton Papali’i, the All Blacks’ “Easy Company” is also a force to be reckoned with.
Papali’i says that he is part of a group of All Black players that Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks say Band of Brothers-watching television series in the team room.
The series follows the Second World War action of Easy Company – a group of American paratroopers attached to the famous 101st Airborne Division.
“I jokingly said that if the Springboks have the Bomb Squad, we might as well have an Easy Company! We want to stand strong in the trenches and successfully carry out the great task that awaits us,” said the 26-year-old loose forward.
Jason Ryan, the Kiwis’ scrum coach, admits that the Boks can dish out excellent play in the fixed facets.
“They are a team with great players who know exactly what they are doing on a rugby field. At the same time, they have just enough variation to keep their opponents up and awake,” Ryan said.
He compared the upcoming final at the Stade de France to a heavyweight title fight and he also underlined the danger of the Bomb Squad.
“It would be good if one could rob the bomb of its explosive power, wouldn’t it? We will simply have to put our faith in our game plan and believe that we can fight until the final whistle.”
The All Blacks qualified for the final on a trot after overpowering Argentina 44 – 6, while the Boks followed a more difficult path against England.
Still, Ryan believes that the results in the run-up to the final spectacle are irrelevant; what happens on the day carries the greatest weight.
“The Springboks did not let themselves down at all. They play in the final and it doesn’t matter at all whether a team won the semi-final and quarter-final by one point or 30 points. Then they will also play with confidence because they know exactly how to win a World Cup. “