Fortress Ellis Park

My prediction that South Africa will not win the 2014 Rugby Championship is in danger of falling flat.

Not that I am complaining.  The Springboks have been sublime at times during the annual southern hemisphere competition.  But can they go on and win it?

According to some, the Ellis Park factor will make the difference.  The Johannesburg ground is something of a fortress for Team SA.  The All Blacks will be beaten.  Or so they say.

Ellis Park has been so much of a holy ground for South Africa that the Springboks have never beaten France at the venue.  Good thing Heyneke Meyer is not preparing for a test against Le Bleus then.

Since returning from isolation the South Africans have tackled New Zealand on six occasions at Ellis Park.  Four wins and two defeats is hardly the statistical ammunition needed  to describe the ground as a fortress.  Moreover the last time the Springboks and Kiwis met there was in 2004; hardly a player on the park will have a memory bank to call on come Saturday.

The highveld factor cannot be punted either.  Since 1992 the record between the sides is 8-6 in favour of the New Zealanders at high altitude venues. Clearly the only thing that will aid South Africa will be a good performance coupled with the desire to win.  I have no doubt the latter will be in place.

Prediction time.  The Springboks will win but will fall short of securing the bonus point victory needed to win the Rugby Championship.