SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

4 December 2012

South Africa: Favourable RWC Draw for Springboks

The Springboks have been drawn with Samoa and Scotland in Pool B for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which takes place in England. It's the fourth time in succession that South Africa and Samoa have been drawn in the same pool. The draw took place in London on Monday.

The current International Rugby Board (IRB) world rankings see South Africa in second place, with Samoa ranked seventh and Scotland twelfth.

In their most recent clash, at the 2011 World Cup, the Boks held off a stiff challenge from the Samoans, winning 13-5, while they beat the Scots by 11 points in a tough encounter on their recent tour of the northern hemisphere.

Joining those three teams in Pool B will be the top team from Asia, most likely to be Japan, and another side from the Americas.

World Cup winners

South Africa has won the Rugby World Cup twice previously, in 1995 and 2007. Australia, with World Cup titles in 1991 and 1999, is also a two-time winner, as is New Zealand, the 2011 champions and winners of the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

The only other team to win the World Cup, and the only northern hemisphere champions, were England in 2003.

England, Australia and South Africa have lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy away from home. Both of New Zealand's titles were won in New Zealand.

Satisfied

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer attended the draw at the Tate Modern and afterwards declared himself satisfied with the pool allocation.

"Our aim was to be in the first band of teams and we achieved that, moving from fourth at the start of the year to second in the IRB world rankings," said Meyer.

"As I said before the draw was made, to us it doesn't matter who we are drawn against, because to win the World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there."

During recent tours of the northern hemisphere, South Africa remained unbeaten, but had to fight for their victories, beating Ireland 16-12, Scotland 21-10 and England 16-15. Australia's results included a 33-6 thrashing at the hands of France, and New Zealand were thumped 38-21 by England.

Gap has closed

"If ever there was testimony that the gap between the top teams have closed, we saw that over the past month in the northern hemisphere," Meyer commented.

"There really is very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams has also improved a lot recently."

The general consensus is that the draw has been kind to South Africa, but the Boks, assuming they qualify, will face a tough quarterfinal clash against one of Australia, England or Wales.

Pools

Those three teams are in Pool A - which has quickly been dubbed the "Pool of Death" - along with a qualifier from Oceania and the winners of a playoff.

Pool C features defending champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, as well as a team from Europe and another from Africa.

France is the top seed in Pool D. They will face Ireland, Italy, and teams from the Americas and Europe.

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