BRAGGING rights will be on the line when Worcester Warriors’ players come together to watch the Rugby World Cup final at Sixways on Saturday (9am).

Francois Venter, capped seven times by his country, is among a strong South African contingent at Warriors while one-cap England ace Chris Pennell will be hoping Eddie Jones’ men silence the Springboks with victory in Japan.

The Worcester pair answered some of the big questions ahead of the final at the International Stadium in Yokohama.


CP: “It will be an unbelievable game. I am thrilled that the guys have got there so it’s just about producing one more huge performance and it will be theirs.

“South Africa are a quality side but I do think England have got the capability to do the job as long as they turn up and perform which I think they will.”

FV: “It’s a one-off game so it can go either way but I think England’s performance in the semi-final speaks for itself.

“If you beat the best side in the world like that you take a lot of confidence from it. They are going to be flying.

“It’s going to be a tough one for South Africa but they have still got a quality side so anything can happen on the day.

“I’m a Springbok so I will back the boys.”


CP: “England showed some unbelievable tempo and physicality against New Zealand.

“Can they back it up? I think they can but let’s see.

“They will go in with a huge amount of confidence but they can’t be overconfident.

“They need to have respect for the opposition but know that if they play the way they can South Africa won’t handle it.”

FV: “South Africa have got a good defence as they come off the line very quickly so if England manage to get around them and put their back three under pressure it’s going to be a tight game.

“I also think aerial skills will be key. The one that catches that ball in the air always determines the international games and can swing the momentum.”


CP: “The boys that are going to give us front-foot ball such as Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi.

“If those boys are getting on the front foot then I think any team will struggle but defensively it’s going to be a huge effort because the South African guys are so big and physical. I think Ben Youngs will have a big role to play, controlling the game and field position.

“He has been very good as his kicking game has been on point so far and I am sure he will do his thing again.”

FV: “Looking at the past week the way Handré Pollard took those kicks you have got to be ballsy.

“He is a good carrier of the ball as well and puts the back-line away so if he fires they are in trouble.

“I think South Africa have got one of the best packs in the world. If you look at our record at lineout-time it speaks for itself.

“Everyone is important in the final but I think kicking to goal will be the determining factor.”


CP: “The legacy that it would leave would be incredible. There was a missed opportunity last time around when it was in this country.

“But given how well it has been televised and the amount of interest it has generated already to go that one step further this time would be great for the game and the youth coming through.”

FV: “The Springbok brand is one of the biggest in world rugby and for our nation it just brings everyone together.

“If they can bring back that trophy it will unite the nation.

“We have got a lot of struggles and a thing like that brings a positive vibe out in everybody.”


CP: “The guys can come in, get some treatment, watch the game, have some breakfast together and then we will train afterwards or they can sit and watch it at home and come in later for training.

“I might be heading in to escape the kids for a couple of hours and be able to concentrate on the screen for a little bit.

“There will be a good atmosphere here.”

FV: “We have moved our training a bit so we can support the boys. It’s a big game. I think everyone is excited to go and watch it so everyone is hyped up.

“I think I’ll come in, watch it here and hopefully it turns out good for me.

“It’s going to be a good crack here with the boys.”