Saturday's Rugby World Cup semifinal between New Zealand and South Africa is set to be an epic, and as a winger, it has an extra level of attraction for me. Julian Savea, the top try scorer of the current tournament -- 'The Bus' has eight tries, three more than anyone else -- is going up against Bryan Habana, the man who leads the all-time World Cup list (the South African is tied with Jonah Lomu on 15 World Cup tries).
On current form, Savea is the best winger in the world, but Habana has been around for 10 years and has proved his class time and again.
In my experience, when you're going up against a big player like that in a game like this, you're just so excited. You want to prove yourself, you want to knock him off his pedestal. There won't be any fear for either of them, they'll just be massively excited for the challenge. They'll be aware of each other's strengths, but they'll just be keen to get on with it and have a good game.
"Habana and Savea are the sort of players that can punish any slips in concentration." Mark Cueto
Savea is an incredible player. He's got speed, power and footwork. He's the ultimate package. That try against France was just ridiculous. If I was someone like JP Pietersen, who has to go up against him, the one thing I'd have in my head is to go low on him. France fullback Scott Spedding isn't exactly a small player, and Savea brushed him off like a small child. From that point of view, there is no point in trying to tackle him above his hips.
When you're facing Habana, on the other hand, it's all about pace -- you've just got to be tactically and positionally spot on. Give him an inch, and that's where Habana can punish you. His pace is incredible and can leave teams for dead.
As a winger, you want to get involved in the game early, and at this stage of the World Cup, that just becomes even more true. I don't think it's something you go into the game thinking about, but it's more something you think about if you haven't touched the ball 15 minutes into the game. You want an early involvement, whether that's a touch, a tackle or a kick chase.
I've had games where there has been a break in play and I've looked up at the clock after 12 or 13 minutes, and I realise I haven't touched the ball. That can make you go hunting a bit, but you don't want to force it -- at this stage of the tournament when you are playing knockout rugby, it is so important not to slip up and lose your position. Habana and Savea, with their pace and power, are the exact sort of players that can punish any slips in concentration.
The smart money has to be on the All Blacks, but if there's one team that they didn't want to face, it would probably be the Springboks because they seem to be the one team that has the least respect for New Zealand's aura. They're so headstrong, physical and love the confrontation, they're the one team that can beat the All Blacks at this stage.
I think it will be tight, but I'd put my money on the All Blacks to win by five to eight points. And Savea and Habana are likely to play their part.