RWC 2019 Pool B: South Africa vs. Canada
Venue: Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe
Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Barring something unthinkable happening in the final few Pool B fixtures this is a pool that looks to be set in terms of who will finish where.
South Africa shook off that disappointing 23-13 opening match defeat to New Zealand by first throttling Nambia 57-3 and then dominating Italy 49-3 in a match they had to win to all but confirm their progress into the quarter-finals of the competition. It was a big win, one in which the Italians were again disappointing, and it sets up South Africa as the likely second plaed team in the pool behind New Zealand when all is said and done.
Canada have zero points after two games and that is likely the position that they expected to be in at this point in the pool. The Canadians opened with a 48-7 defeat at the hands of Italy, before being dressed down 63-0 by the All Blacks second-string side. They now face South Africa in another game where they are expected to lose by a landslide before they take on Namibia in the one pool game that both those countries have targeted as a possible win.
South African have rung the changes in their starting XV for this matchup against Canada. There are 13 changes in all from the team that looked so comfortable against Italy, with only captain and flanker Siya Kolisi and centre Damian de Allende asked to back up on such little rest.
The changes come all over the park, with fullback Damian Willemse who only arrived into the squad on Thursday as an injury replacement being handed an immediate start. He completes a dangerous looking back three alongside wings Warrick Gelant and Sbu Nkosi.
Canada, on the other hand, have made few changes to their lineup from the team that faced New Zealand last time out. This says a lot about the lack of depth in Canadian rugby at the moment, with the best players in the squad having to go up against two of the best teams in the world in back to back matches.
This does mean that South African born Canadian DTH van der Merwe is set to face the country of his birth. The 33-year-old is an 81 match veteran who has played for some of the best clubs in Europe and he will be hoping to score an upset try if the Canadians can work the ball to his wing.
South Africa are, as expected, massive favourites in this clash. The points spread is set at 50.5, at BetXChange, with the South African second-string players expected to play hard and push for inclusion in more important matchday squads as the World Cup unfolds. It is a huge line, but it is one that we would expect South Africa to cover as Canada haven’t shown any real offensive threat in this World Cup so far. Take the Boks -50.5.