Springbok captain John Smit believes that his team's best chance of defending their crown in New Zealand is by making their experience count in the cauldron of World Cup rugby.
The Springbok squad that Smit will lead in the Land of the Long White Cloud is incredibly similar in terms of personnel to the outfit that he lead to glory in France four years ago and the South African skipper is determined to use that to give his side an edge.
He said: "We are hoping it will be a factor, it is certainly going to be something that we will need to rely on when it gets really tough in New Zealand. We have also got to be careful that we don't talk about it too much and that we actually produce that experience when it actually comes to the 80 minutes every weekend.
"I think any team would love to have the kind of experience we have got from a World Cup point of view but it is up to us to show that in how we play and how we adapt to the World Cup pressure," added Smit.
The Bok captain revealed that the Springboks would be fairly conservative in terms of selection at the global showpiece, with all the old combinations set to be given a chance to see considerable game-time in the pool stages as they seek to avoid an early mishap.
"You take the two years before the World Cup to try and see which players can play in which combinations which each other so the World Cup isn't really a place where you want to take too many chances," said Smit.
The veteran hooker reflected on some of the near-misses a second-string Bok team experienced against some Pacific Island teams in 2007 and confirmed that they were unlikely to take similar 'chances' this year, especially as the first-choice team is actually in need of as much game-time together as possible this time around.
He explained: "We tried a few combinations in France four years ago and it didn't go quite as planned so because the team hasn't had that much time together so it is probably a tournament where we are going to have to use those pool games as part of our preparation and getting better and better every single weekend.
"Having said that I think we will have to use all 30 players and how that is done is luckily not up to me," said Smit.
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