RWC 2015: Pool B preview

2015-09-16 09:40
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks have been gifted a relatively easy pool and are overwhelming favourites to finish top. Samoa and Scotland will be backing themselves to secure the other quarter-final spot, but they will be met by a spirited Japanese side who are under the guidance of former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.


World ranking – 3

Best WC – Winners (1995, 2007)

A woeful end to the Rugby Championship campaign combined with a Cosatu-fuelled attack on the transformation policies of the side has not made for ideal preparation. Injuries have also meant that the Boks go into the tournament with a number of key players who have not played much or any rugby in the international season. But, the Boks will always be there or thereabouts and they will command the respect and attention of every other team at the tournament.


World ranking – 12

Best WC – QFs (1991, 1995)

Many consider Samoa to be South Africa’s toughest opposition in the group, but it is likely to be their clash with Scotland on October 10 that determines who will join the Boks in the last eight. Samoa have promised much for many years but have failed to build on their quarter-final appearances from 1991 and 1995. This tournament presents them with their best opportunity in a while to get out of their group.


World ranking – 13

Best WC – Pool stages (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)

Having participated in every World Cup to date, Japan have never once progressed out of the group stages. That is unlikely to change in 2015, despite being under the mentorship of former Wallabies boss Eddie Jones. What will be important, though, is that Japan show a marked improvement in their game given that they are the hosts for the 2019 edition. They have an opportunity to do that with a resilient display against the Boks on Saturday.


World ranking – 10

Best WC – 4th (1991)

Scotland are a proud rugby nation, but performances in recent years have seen them slip down the pecking order - so much so that there is doubt over their ability to get out of the group stages in 2015. Samoa are the obvious obstacle, but the Scots might take some heart from playing in northern hemisphere conditions. The first hurdle for them will be getting over the line in a potentially tricky clash with the Japanese.


World ranking – 15

Best WC – Pool stages (1987, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)

A lot of money is being spent on developing the game in America, but the benefits of that are yet to be seen on the field. They will be eyeing their match against Japan as their best chance of a win, but will also back their chances of causing an upset against Samoa or Scotland. But the smart money will be on the ‘stars and stripes’ finishing bottom of the pool. 

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