Laureus rugby legends Sean Fitzpatrick, Morné du Plessis and Hugo Porta yesterday took time out of their schedules to inspire the next generation of young rugby players at a Laureus Sport for Good Foundation event in London.
Following on from their visit, which used sport as a tool for social change, the three Laureus Academy Members reflected on the first weekend of the 2015 Rugby World Cups and looked ahead to what rugby fans around the world can expect from the remainder of the tournament.
South African Rugby Legend Morné du Plessis believes that although the Springboks were subjected to one of the biggest upsets in rugby history against Japan they will bounce back. He said: “I was in Brighton and it was a dark day for the Springboks, but we’ve had dark days before. There will be a lot of reflection taking place in the Springbok camp this week, people back home have been talking about a Bokke-lash from the Springboks for the rest of the tournament.”
All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick also gave his views on a number of talking points, including:
The All Blacks chances of defending their title: “I think the All Blacks have the best 31 players in the tournament, all positions. Am I confident we are going to win the World Cup? No; I would say it’s going to be the hardest World Cup to win, especially on our side of the draw.”
Sam Burgess becoming a key man for England: “After all the talk in the media about Sam Burgess in the lead up to the tournament, I thought he really performed well when he came on and put his hand up for the rest of the tournament.”
Ireland’s chance to make history at the Rugby World Cup: “I like what I see with Ireland. Either Argentina or New Zealand will play them in the quarter-finals, and they are a real threat. If they win the group, they avoid us and play Argentina. And if they get through the semi-final, they can beat anyone as they showed two years ago when they should have beaten the All Blacks.”
Hugo Porta, legendary fly-half who put Argentina on the world rugby map as a player, believes the Pumas can back up their strong performance against the All Blacks, by progressing through Pool C. Porta said: “We know that we have to play every game as a final. But the experience we have yesterday, for us, you know, gives us hope about what is going to happen in the next game to come. But the All Blacks match was a great experience for us. It was amazing. For 65 minutes, leading, it was very good.”