‘You can’t say they were lucky’: Bok legend fires back at criticism after World Cup win

It is strange that a team could play five of the top six teams in the world on the way to being crowned world champions and be accused of being lucky, but that has been the charge thrown South Africa’s way ever since they won their fourth World Cup back in October.

Naturally, it wasn’t the path the Springboks took to get to the championship that has been deemed fortunate—this was arguably the most difficult path any team will ever take to win a World Cup—rather, it was the outcomes they achieved along the way.

In the knockout stages, Jacque Nienaber’s team defeated the All Blacks, England, and hosts France in back-to-back weeks by a single point, which some believe was due to chance. However, some people are lucky, and some people have good preparation, and Schlank Burger, the 2007 World Cup winner, is certain that it was the latter.

During his recent appearance as a guest on Hanyani Shimange’s “Boks Office” podcast, the 86-cap Springbok was asked if his countrymen were fortunate to win their fourth title. and his response was emphatic. “It’s so hard to say that the Boks were lucky because this group deserves it,” the former World Rugby player of the year said. “You look at the teams we beat, five of world’s top six to get there, the toughest route any team has ever had to win a World Cup, let alone back-to-back World Cups.

“If you take our pool and the first game we played against Scotland, that’s the most important one. Then, the intensity of that Irish game—yes, we could have won, fair play to Ireland—but I guess that’s where the luck comes from. We’ve played so well in World Cups so many times, like in our quarterfinal match against Australia in 2011—you look at the tightness of those games and certain calls that go your way, or Handre Pollard’s incredible kick in the semi-final—sometimes it’s just your luck.

Things work out for you and the Boks were fortunate to have a lot of things go their way in those crucial games, whether it was due to their preparation, is it divine intervention? Is it your time? We don’t know, but you can’t say they were lucky.”

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