McCaw warns Boks of Samoa

2015-07-08 09:09
Richie McCaw (Getty Images)

Apia - All Black captain Richie McCaw has sent out a warning to Samoa's Rugby World Cup opponents to watch out for the Pacific Islanders when the tournament begins in a little over two months.

The Samoans pushed the World Cup holders all the way in the first Test match between the sides in Apia before Dan Carter's goal-kicking got the All Blacks home 25-16 in front of an ecstatic crowd of 8 104 on Wednesday.

"You kept coming at us," McCaw said in a pitchside interview at Apia Park. "I take my hat off to you, going forward in your up and coming matches and into the World Cup.

"With form like that you will get better and I know you will be a force to be reckoned with in what's ahead. You have a pretty special team and I'm sure you will do well."

Stephen Betham's side have been drawn in Pool B at the September 18-October31 tournament in England with South Africa, the United States, Scotland and Japan.

Samoa have been heavily supported at the World Cup due to their fearless tackling and sparkling attacking play, particularly in the early days of the tournament when they made the quarter-finals in 1991 and 1995.

They were eliminated in the quarter-final playoffs in 1999 and have not made it out of the group phases at the last three tournaments.

In 2011, the World Cup draw was heavily criticised by pundits and then centre Eliota Fuimoana-Sapulo, who complained about the fact that his side only had three days to prepare for their crucial final pool clash against the Springboks.

Samoa have a more favourable draw in England, facing the US on September 20, the Springboks six days later, before they meet Japan on October 3 and then Scotland on October 10.

Based on the current World Rugby rankings, the clash with Vern Cotter's 10th-ranked Scotland side could decide which team advances to the quarter-finals in second place, with many expecting the Springboks to win the pool.

The team's biggest issue has been drawing players together from around the globe and having adequate preparation time before the tournament.

Under Betham and former dual Samoa-New Zealand international Alama Ieremia, however, they have a more sustained build-up towards the World Cup through the Pacific Nations Cup from July 18-August 3.

They face the US, Canada and Fiji in the six-team tournament which also includes Japan and Tonga, to build their combinations.

Read more on:    springboks  |  all blacks  |  samoa  |  rwc 2015  |  richie mccaw  |  rugby

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