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Did Springboks THROW their Ireland RWC game? WHY ex-player thinks so

Former All Black player Stephen Donald has suggested that the Springboks purposedly lost their Rugby World Cup game against Ireland last week to avoid playing New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

South Africa lost their third group stage game 13-8. The Boks will take on Tonga next on 1 October 2023.

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Speaking to SENZ radio, Stephen Donald claimed that the Springboks’s loss against Ireland was a strategic move.

According to the former All Blacks theory, this was to avoid playing their rugby rival in the World Cup quarter-finals.

He said: “Deep down, would you ever put it past the South Africans to go, ‘Do we want the All Blacks in a quarter-final? I think we take this route.

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“It was a brutal old thing, wasn’t it? It was everything you’d hope for in a game… it could’ve been the final. It was that sort of intensity and that sort of quality.”

The Springboks lost their pool stage game against the All Blacks during the 2019 Rugby World Cup but would ultimately win the title and lift the Webb Ellis trophy.

Rugby world cup
Image via X @@Springboks


As it stands, SA could potentially face off against France in the quarter-finals if they secure a win – and a bonus point – against Tonga on Sunday.

SA won their first Pool B match against Scotland 18-3 and clinched a 76-0 victory against Romania in their second.

However, the Boks hit a stumbling block against Ireland – rated number one in the world – with their 13-8 loss last weekend.

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Meanwhile, Ireland is likely to meet New Zealand in their quarter-finals clash.

According to The Citizen, SA must win 37 points or more over Tonga to progress from the group stages. Should they tie with fellow Pool B opponents Ireland and Scotland on points, the deciding factor could become the point difference.

However, if Ireland finishes top of the pool with SA and Scotland on equal standing, then a clash between the latter will decide their fate.