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This group of Springboks have been written off before. Few gave them a chance of winning the 2019 World Cup in Japan, and the pandemic compromised their preparations ahead of the landmark series against the British & Irish Lions in 2021. On both occasions, however, they overcame the odds to win silverware and deliver the ultimate statement regarding their big-match temperament.

Regardless of those triumphs, expectations have been tempered ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France. Much of the pre-tournament hype has been reserved for top-ranked team Ireland and the tournament hosts. The Boks may have surpassed the All Blacks in the official rankings thanks to the recent 35-7 win at Twickenham, but they remain in the shadow of the northern hemisphere giants — at least for the moment. ..

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