WILL BOKS WIN FIRST TEST OF THE SEA­SON?

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

So who will be feel­ing in the pink on Satur­day night? The Boks or Les Blues? Our five In­de­pen­dent Me­dia rugby writ­ers stick their necks out with their pre­dic­tions for the first Test at Lof­tus ...

JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN

WHO IS GO­ING TO WIN? Spring­boks WHY: They surely can­not be worse than they were in 2016. The match is at a venue where the Boks have done well be­fore, they’ve had good prepa­ra­tion time and the French are a lit­tle dis­rupted af­ter a long sea­son. The Lions in­flu­ence will be mas­sive and will play a big part.

MIKE GREENAWAY

WHO IS GO­ING TO WIN? France WHY? There is a long his­tor­i­cal prece­dent of French teams be­ing un­der­rated when they hit South African shores. They have played 21 Tests in South Africa, with the Boks win­ning just 10, France win­ning six and, in­cred­i­bly, there have been five draws. France do not fear the Boks, have the right mind­set and are the more set­tled team.

WYNONA LOUW

WHO IS GO­ING TO WIN? Spring­boks WHY? The Spring­boks have a lot to make up for, and if ever there was a per­fect time to get off to a good start, it would be now. The Boks will go up against a French side that’s far from full-strength, and home ground ad­van­tage will cer­tainly be a fac­tor. And let’s not for­get about those ex­cit­ing SA play­ers.

VATA NGOBENI

WHO IS GO­ING TO WIN: Spring­boks WHY: Un­der new cap­tain War­ren White­ley the Boks look like a team de­ter­mined to win their open­ing Test against France at Lof­tus Vers­feld. The Spring­boks will beat the French as long as they play to their strengths and em­brace the run­ning game that will yield them tries.

DARRYN POL­LOCK

WHO IS GO­ING TO WIN: Spring­boks WHY: Op­ti­mism is al­ways present at the start of the sea­son, but it is the level of the op­po­si­tion, away from home, that will be the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor. France never tour well, and although they im­proved in the Six Na­tions, they didn’t set the com­pe­ti­tion alight. An av­er­age French side will aid the Boks’ per­for­mance.

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