RWC 2015: Pool B profile

Oct 31 • General News, International, RWC 2015 • 2389 Views • Comments Off on RWC 2015: Pool B profile

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With the line-up for Rugby World Cup 2015 now complete, we continue our series of pool-by-pool guides with a look at Pool B

Japan’s rise from 15th place to 11th in the IRB World Rankings since the Pool Allocation Draw was made in London in December 2012 has added a new dimension to Pool B ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup. It is quite conceivable that four of the top 10 teams in the world will be in the same pool by the time the tournament kicks off at Twickenham on 18 September 2015.

With South Africa (second), Scotland (eighth), Samoa (ninth) and Japan (11th) all in the mix, not forgetting the USA, predicting who qualifies for the knockout stages as the two best-placed teams from this ultra-competitive pool is anyone’s guess.

Given their status as the second best team in the world, two-time winners South Africa will start as favourites to come top of the pile, but all of the other nations are more than capable of beating each other on their day. USA were not far away from upsetting Samoa the last time they met, losing 25-21 at RWC 2007, and the confidence Japan will have taken from their historic win over Wales in the summer of 2013 should stand them in good stead as they bid to end a long winless streak in the competition.

A record run of 10 straight wins briefly took Asian rugby’s flag-bearers into the world’s top 10 rugby-playing nations, and, in Eddie Jones, they have a coach who knows what it takes to win a Rugby World Cup, having been a member of the South Africa coaching team that claimed a second title in France in 2007.

 

SOUTH AFRICA

RWC head-to-head record 
v Scotland: W 46-29 (1999)
v Samoa: W 42-14 (1995), W 60-10 (2003), W 59-7 (2007), W 13-5 (2011)
v Japan: –
v USA: W 64-15 (2007)

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 29, W 25, D 0, L 4, PF 1009, PA 378, Win% 86
Finishing Positions: 1995 Winners, 1999 Third, 2003 Quarter-finals, 2007 Winners, 2011 Quarter-finals
Biggest Winning Margin: 87 (87-0 v Namibia, 2011)
Most Capped RWC player: John Smit 17
Top Points: Percy Montgomery 111
Top Tries: Bryan Habana 10

Did You Know? 
South Africa became the fifth team after New Zealand, Australia, England and France to have scored over 1,000 points in the tournament’s history at RWC 2011.

SCOTLAND

RWC head-to-head record 
v South Africa: L 29-46 (1999)
v Samoa: W 28-6 (1991)
v Japan: W 47-9 (1991), W 32-11 (2003)
v USA: W 39-15 (1999)

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 33, W 19, D 1, L 13, PF 972, PA 620, Win% 58
Finishing Positions: 1987 Quarter-finals, 1991 Semi-finals, 1995 Quarter-finals, 1999 Quarter-finals, 2003 Quarter-finals, 2007 Quarter-finals, 2011 Pool stages
Biggest Winning Margin: 89 (89-0 v Ivory Coast, 1995)
Most Capped RWC player: Chris Paterson 15
Top Points: Gavin Hastings 227
Top Tries: Gavin Hastings 9

Did You Know? 
Scotland’s most-capped player Chris Paterson did not miss a single attempt at goal during RWC 2007. His fine form continued into the 1998 Six Nations and beyond before he eventually missed after 38 consecutive kicks at goal.

SAMOA

RWC head-to-head record 
v South Africa: L 14-42 (1995), L 10-60 (2003), L 7-59 (2007), L 5-13 (2011)
v Scotland: L 6-28 (1991)
v Japan: W 43-9 (1999)
v USA: W 25-21 (2007)

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 24, W 11, D 0, L 13, PF 585, PA 608, %Win 46
Finishing Positions: 1991 Quarter-finals, 1995 Quarter-finals, 1999 Quarter-final play-Off, 2003 Pool stages, 2007 Pool stages, 2011 Pool stages
Biggest Winning Margin: 47 (60-13 v Uruguay, 2003)
Most Capped RWC player: Brian Lima 18
Top Points: Silao Leaega 62
Top Tries: Brian Lima 10

Did You Know?
Brian Lima became the first player to appear in five Rugby World Cups when he played against South Africa in Paris in RWC 2007.

JAPAN

RWC head-to-head record
v South Africa: –
v Scotland: L 9-47 (1991), L 11-32 (2003)
v Samoa: L 9-43 (1999)
v USA: L 18-21 (1987), L 26-39 (2003)

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 24, W 1, D 2, L 18, PF 428, PA 1159, %Win 4
Finishing Positions: 1987 Pool stages, 1991 Pool stages, 1995 Pool stages, 1999, Pool stages, 2003 Pool stages, 2007 Pool stages, 2011 Pool stages
Biggest Winning Margin: 44 (52-8 v Zimbabwe, 1991)
Most Capped RWC Player: Hirotoki Onozawa 12
Most Points: Toru Kurihara 40
Most Tries: Eiji Kuksuki 4

Did You Know?
Japan have never played South Africa before in a Rugby World Cup and are winless in five outings against their other pool rivals.

USA

RWC head-to-head record
v South Africa: L 15-64 (2007)
v Scotland: L 15-39 (1999)
v Samoa: L 21-25 (2007)
v Japan: W 21-18 (1987), W 39-26 (2003)

Other RWC records
Overall Playing Record: Played 21, W 3, D 0, L 18, PF 300, PA 736
Finishing Positions: 1987 Pool stages, 1991 Pool stages, 1999 Pool stages, 2003 Pool stages, 2007 Pool stages, 2011 Pool stages
Biggest Winning Margin: 13 (39-26 v Japan, 2003)
Most Capped RWC Player: Mike MacDonald 11
Most Points: Mike Hercus 77
Most Tries: Ray Nelson/Kurt Schubert 3

Did You Know?
USA Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin was once an English teacher at New York’s Xavier High School, where scrum half Mike Petri, a veteran of two Rugby World Cups, currently teaches maths and science.
Courtesy of IRB

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