RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday September 27, 1.45 am
‘We have let our country down’ were the harsh words Heyneke Meyer used to blast his team after their shock defeat to Japan. Meyer knows his team have to win their remaining pool games to be in with a chance of progressing and he has taken action by ringing the changes, eight in all, from the side humiliated in Brighton. This wounded line-up will be keen to show a reaction and prove a point against fellow pool qualification hopefuls Samoa. The Samoan’s got their campaign underway with a hard-fought victory over a dogged USA. Scotland’s victory over Japan and South Africa’s loss to them means that every match in pool B is now crucial.
For the fourth successive World Cup these two have been placed in the same pool. More generally, this is their ninth head-to-head in total and the Boks are yet to taste defeat. In fact only once have the Pacific Islanders lost by fewer than 27 points, a 13-5 loss at this stage in 2011. South Africa won the two previous Word Cup games by over 50 points. Their most recent fixture resulted in a 56-23 win for the Boks in Pretoria, a ground they haven’t lost at since 2003 and at the time, SA were in the middle of a nine match winning streak.
Coming into this fixture, the 2007 World Cup champions are just three from nine but they have never lost two pool matches in a tournament before. The only time they did lose a pool game previously (against England in 2003) they bounced back with 46-19 victory over Georgia before thrashing Samoa 60-10.
Samoa have struggled against the Southern hemisphere Big Three in the past with just one win in 19 attempts and up until 2011 they had lost by 22 points or more in 13 of the 15 fixtures. Since then, however, they’ve improved sharply. In the last four fixtures they’ve managed their solitary victory and two of the three losses were in tight matches as they ended within 10 points of their opponents. Further evidence of progression is their W4-L7 record against Six Nations or Rugby Championship sides since the last World Cup compared to a W1-L7 record between the 2007 and 2011 editions. Only two of the defeats since the last tournament have been by a margin greater than 19 points.
- South Africa have just three wins in their last nine
- South Africa have never lost two pool games.
- South Africa have never lost to Pacific Island nation
- Samoa have won just once in 19 attempts against southern hemisphere Big Three.