RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday September 27, 11.30pm
Scotland took full advantage of a tired second-half Japanese performance on Wednesday to make the perfect start to their campaign. They have made 10 changes for this match to compensate for the four-day turnaround. They also have just six days between facing the USA and South Africa. Most of the rotation is in the forwards with many of the attacking backs that cut open Japan (Stuart Hogg, fly-half Finn Russell and double try scorer Mark Bennett in particular) involved again. The USA were very competitive against Samoa despite coming up short and they’ve the added bonus of an extra three days’ rest as they attempt to record their first win against the Scots at the fifth time of asking.
These sides have met just once in the last 11 years with Vern Cotter’s men winning the encounter in America last summer 24-6. That result is an example of Scotland’s impressive record against minnows. At World Cups they’ve won their last seven such matches since 2003 by an average margin of 27 points.
The USA have lost 11 of their last 13 pool stage matches but excluding the eventual group winners the Eagles have an average losing score 14-26 against and only once have they been beaten by more than 23 points (vs Scotland in 2003). In the last three tournaments they have P5-L5 against Six Nations opponents, losing by an average of 19 points but significantly their most recent two defeats have been much tighter affairs.
In 2011, Scotland had a similar four-day turnaround between fixtures. They opened with up a bonus point victory against Romania before struggling to a 15-6 win over Georgia. This is a stronger Scottish team than four years ago so we are confident of their victory but given that the USA will be fresher and rarely get thrashed we think the 23.5 handicap looks too high for the Scots to beat.
- Scotland are 7/7 against minnows at World Cups from 2003 with an average winning margin of 27 points
- Scotland have a P4-W4 record against USA
- USA have an average losing margin of 19 points against Six nations opponents in the pool stages at the last three World Cups