Rugby World Cup 2015: South Africa v USA

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Pool B

South Africa v USA

Thursday, 8 October 2:45am


Pool B remains the only pool where the outcome of who will qualify is still unknown though South Africa can change that on Wednesday by securing top spot with a win over USA. The Boks have answered their critics emphatically against Samoa and Scotland. Over the two matches they racked up an aggregate 80-22 score line and another dominant performance here will mean the Japan result will be seen merely as a blip. With qualification yet to be confirmed and the knowledge that they will have 10 days off until a potential quarter-final tie we expect Heyneke Meyer to field a relatively strong side.

USA followed-up their narrow defeat to Samoa by giving the Scots a scare with a 13-6 half-time lead before being blown away in the second 40. The Eagles play Japan in four days’ time in a game that represents a far more realistic chance of picking up a victory so don’t be surprised to see a rotated American XV.

Prior to that Japan defeat, South Africa had an impressive record against minnows at World Cups including a 64-15 hammering of today’s opposition at this stage in France 2007. In fact, even after their defeat to the Brave Blossom they’ve still averaged 60 points per game against the minnows since 2003 whilst conceding a mean of just 15 points.

Unsurprisingly the USA have never beaten one of the southern hemisphere’s Big Three. In the five encounters this century their best result is a 23 point loss in 2001 while the other four defeats were by at least 36 points. At World Cups since 2003, the Stars and Stripes have only ever lost by more than 27 points twice, which is respectable given there are 12 defeats in the sample. Crucially the two extreme failures were drubbings against South Africa (as mentioned above) and Australia by 62 points four years ago.

We see the Japan result as a one-off and don’t expect the Boks to let up this time. So far both Australia and New Zealand have defeated the lowest ranked team in their pool by a margin of 62 and 44 points respectively. Both failed to cover the pre-match handicap line but with it set at 38.5 here we expect South Africa to do so.


Key Stats

  • South Africa average 60 points a game against minnows at World Cups
  • USA have lost all 16 matches against the Southern Hemisphere Big Three


Recommendation: South Africa -38.5 points 1.92