RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday September 20, 9pm
Samoa are often seen as a danger side in the pool stages and a team many other nations are keen to avoid. In 2011 they provided a stern test for both Wales and South Africa who won by 7 and 8 points respectively and they famously almost derailed England’s 2003 campaign when they went in at half-time 16-13 up. However, they haven’t taken a major scalp in the previous three World Cups but will see this year a realistic opportunity to make their first quarter-final since 1995. In a pool South Africa should top, Samoa will fancy their chances over Scotland in their final pool game to progress. Firstly they must overcome a USA side that they have a P4-W4 record against. The US have yet to make an impression at the World Cup with just two wins in their last 12 World Cup matches and they came against Japan and Russia.
Both sides took part in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, which also included Canada, Fiji and Tonga. Samoa failed to find top form with just two wins out of four and an average full-time score of 25-26 against. They did however record a victory over USA 21-16 despite a 21-3 advantage at half-time. The two sides only other meeting in the last ten years was at the 2007 World Cup where the game followed a similar pattern with the Pacific Islanders winning 25-21 after leading 22-3 at the break. It’s not just the USA that Samoa have struggled against, since the last World Cup they have taken on Georgia, Japan twice and Canada three times, winning just four out of six with only one victory being of a margin greater than 11 points.
The Eagles come into the World Cup with just six victories in their last 20 but three in their last five. They have lost their last seven against Pacific Island nations with an average losing margin of 14 but only twice by more than 16 points. In the last three World Cups they’ve proven to put up a good fight against stronger opposition. Excluding the eventual pool winners the USA have an average losing score of 14-26, with the likes of England, Ireland and Scotland being among their opposition. This impressive record and the fact that USA have never lost to Samoa by more than seven points means we are leaning towards them on the handicap in a market that seems priced up on Samoa’s history more than recent form.
Samoa haven’t appeared in the quarter-finals of a World Cup since 1995
USA have never beaten Samoa in four attempts but Samoa have never won by more than 7 points
USA have won just 6 of their last 20 matches