RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday, 4 October 1:45am
South African rugby was shocked for the second time this tournament when captain Jean de Villiers sensationally announced his immediate retirement from international rugby after breaking his jaw (again!) in their pool match against Samoa. The Springboks remain strong favourites here despite their lengthy injury list and their embarrassing opening game defeat to Japan. While the hosts of the next Rugby World Cup, and World rugby in general, benefited greatly from that shock result Scotland were unlikely benefactors as well. Not only did Japan take points off one of their key competitors in Pool B but Vern Cotter’s side won the fixture lottery as they got to face a depleted Japanese side just four days later. Scotland won that game by 35 points then followed up the victory with a 39-16 thrashing of USA.
South Africa demolished Samoa 46-6 in their second game and they’ll be eyeing up another bonus-point win here. They’ve faced one Six Nations opponents in the each of the last three World Cups and fared well. They won a tight clash with Wales in New Zealand and thrashed England 36-0 in France after losing 25-6 to them four years before. The Southern hemisphere team have dominated this head-to-head in recent years as they’ve won 11 of the last 12 contests including the last four. In their last two meetings South Africa have won by an aggregate of 83-6.
Southern hemisphere sides have won 15/20 World Cup matches against Six Nations teams since 2003 but just eight of the wins have covered the starting spread here. Scotland lost 40-10 to Ireland in March but they’ve been beaten by more than 20 points just three times in the last three years. There is no doubt that Scotland are improving under Cotter and given South Africa’s problems so far in this tournament they look a strong selection with a healthy head start.
- South Africa have won 11 of their last 12 against Scotland
- Southern hemisphere sides have won 15/20 World Cup matches against Six Nations teams since 2003
- Scotland have lost by more than 20 points just three times in the last three years