South Africa

8:40 am on 9 September 2011

Defending champions South Africa come to New Zealand with every chance of winning their third title.

While their recent form has not been great, they are an impressive tournament team, doing what is required to win.

Their reputation has been somewhat shaky under coach Peter de Villiers, but all the players say they are right behind him and ready to win.

The squad contains 18 players from 2007, including 11 of the starting 15 and will again be captained by hooker John Smit, who will be in the front row of an impressive and experienced forward pack, while their game will be developed around a kicking first five.

The Springboks did not compete in the 1987 or 1991 tournaments because of the sporting boycott that apartheid brought against them.

However, their debut was an impressive one, beating the All Blacks 15-12 with a drop goal by Joel Stransky in extra time in the 1995 final in Johannesburg.

They were third in 1999 and were beaten by the All Blacks in the quarter-finals in 2003.

They picked up their second title in Paris four years ago with a try-less 15-6 win over England in the final.

South Africa should not have too many problems getting through pool play against Wales, Fiji, Samoa and Namibia and could meet Ireland in the quarter-finals.