RWC 2019 Pool B: South Africa vs. Namibia
Venue: City of Toyota Stadium, Aichi
Date: Saturday, September 28, 2019
The last meeting between these two sides underpins the difference in stature between the two African sides at this World Cup. South Africa beat Namibia 87-0 back in 2011, with the Namibians vowing to prove that the gap in talent has closed since that day.
South Africa probably still have no idea how they lost to New Zealand in their opener, a game where they controlled the first 20 or so minutes and could have been two or three tries to the good. instead, the All Blacks do what the All Blacks do, and in the space of about seven minutes, they had scored enough points to sit on and defend for the remainder of the match.
Namibia had one of the best ever showings against a Tier 1 nation in their opener. They fought well against Italy for long stretches before going down 47-22. This was a better attacking and defensive performance than we have usually seen from Namibia on the World Cup stage.
Rassie Erasmus has – as expected – made a whole raft of changes for this game. He played his best XV against New Zealand, with 13 of that side either dropping to the bench or out of the squad entirely for this game. Resting players and managing their workload is always key at a Rugby World Cup and Erasmus would have known going into this tournament that this game was going to give him some time to rest his stars.
The most interesting lineup change for the South Africans sees specialist hooker Schalk Brits starting at No. 8. Brits is certainly built to play the position, and he has the skillset to make this work, but he surely can’t have expected to be playing in this role when he accepted his World Cup invitation.
Namibia have also made many changes to their starting lineup after name what is expected to be their strongest starting XV against Italy. This team features no less than 12 changes to that starting lineup, perhaps showing what their coaching staff thinks about the chances of pulling off what would be easily the greats Rugby World Cup upset of all-time against the Springboks.
Namibia don’t have the talent and pace in the backline to challenge the Springboks on that front. Instead, expect to see them keep the ball in tight and try to use their physicality to batter the South Africans and muscle their way to the upset.
South Africa will win this game. Namibia might keep the Springboks contained for the first 15 minutes or so, but when they points come they will come quickly and in high volume. The spread for this game at BetXChange is a massive 58,5 either way. That is because South Africa have averaged 100 points in their last two games against their neighbors. We haven’t had a monster blow out yet at this tournament, but this is the game where it first happens. Take South Africa -58.5 at 0.90 with BetXChange.