New-look Springbok front-row (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Sixteen stats and facts ahead of the Rugby World Cup clash between the Springboks and Samoa in Birmingham.
• This match will be the ninth Test between South Africa and Samoa since their first match 20 years ago in Johannesburg. The Springboks are still unbeaten against Samoa with an average score of 48-12. The closest Samoa has come to a victory was in the 2007 RWC in Albany, New Zealand. On that occasion the Springboks won a close fought match with 13-5.
• In the very first match between the two countries in April 1995, the Springboks won with a 52 point margin (60-8). Twelve years later this record winning margin was repeated in France during RWC 2007.
• The two countries had four encounters in RWC tournaments with the Springboks’ biggest win in 2007 in France (59-7). In this Test Bryan Habana crossed the try line four times. A Springbok RWC record shared with Chester Williams who scored four tries, also against Samoa, in 1995. Interesting to note that both players achieved their record from the left wing position.
• The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 891 – a Springbok record yet again. The previous most experienced side (851 caps) played against Japan last week. Willem Alberts (33 caps) was a late withdrawal and was substituted with Pieter-Steph du Toit (4 caps).
• There are 400 caps in the backline with 491 caps among the forwards. On the bench there are a further 191 caps.
• The following players will make their RWC debuts: Willie le Roux, Damien De Allende and Duane Vermeulen. Schalk Brits and Frans Malherbe could also debut from the bench.
• Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 110 caps in this position. If he scores a try he will extend his own record of 59 Test tries for South Africa. Bryan also holds the Springbok record for most career tries (10) in RWC tournaments. Jonah Lomu of New Zealand is the RWC record holder with 15 career tries.
• In the RWC in 2007, Habana scored four tries against Samoa – should he repeat that feat in this match he will be the new world record holder for most career tries as a wing. The current world record holder is Daisuke Ohata from Japan with 62 tries in the wing position. He could also extend his record of 7 career tries against Samoa.
• Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre with 93 caps in this position and will captain South Africa for the 37th time. Jean would then be the second most capped Springbok captain behind John Smit (83).
• Ruan Pienaar is co-holder of the RWC record for most conversions (6) in a Test match. Should he be used from the bench he will be just one Test behind Ollie le Roux’s record (43) for most capped substitute.
• Schalk Burger is South Africa’s most capped Springbok flank (74). He is also the Springbok record holder for most tries as a flank (12) as well as a forward (14).
• Victor Matfield will become the most capped Springbok against Samoa with five Test caps while he will also play in his record 125th Test match for South Africa.
• Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira will play in their 38th Test as props in the starting line-up.
• Duane Vermeulen will play in his 30th Test match. All his Tests were from the No 8 position and he will now be the third most capped No 8 behind Pierre Spies (48) and Gary Teichmann (42).
• The referee is Wayne Barnes of England. It will be his 11th Test involving South Africa. Of the previous 10 South Africa have won seven and lost three. His last appearance was in August 2014 against New Zealand in Johannesburg which the Boks won 27-25.
• The venue is Villa Park in Birmingham, home to Aston Villa Football Club since 1897. It has a capacity of just more than 42 500 seats. Apart from football, the stadium is also used for concerts, boxing matches as well as international rugby league and rugby union matches.