A lot is at stake for the Springboks and All Blacks in Saturday’s World Cup opening match in Jokohama, because a team could never hold the Webb Ellis Trophy if they lost a match in the group rounds.
This is where the foundation is laid, where a team builds momentum and psychologically takes an advantage over its opponents.
The winning team believes they can win the tournament (think of the 1995 Boks who beat the Wallabies 25-18 and have the 2007 team that overcame England 36-0 and went on to clinch the tournament).
Records are sure to be broken, but the winning team’s path to the play-offs on their way to a potential final is also more easily spotted with a quarter-final game against Scotland awaiting, while the team that is likely to lose to Ireland in the quarterback will play.
The All Blacks are the favorites, as they have won the tournament twice in a row in 2011 and 2015, they have won the Rugby Championship six out of ei