Rugby World Cup Pool B: Samoa set to edge the USA
In 2011, they provided a stern test for both Wales and South Africa, who won by just seven and eight points respectively, and famously almost derailed England’s 2003 campaign when they went in at half-time 16-13 up.
However, Manu Samoa haven’t taken a major scalp in the previous three finals but will see this year a realistic opportunity to make their first quarter-final since 1995. In a pool South Africa should top, Samoa will fancy their chances over Scotland in their final group game to progress.
Firstly, they must overcome a USA side that they have a 4-0 record against, and are odds-on 1/9 favourites to do so. The USA (11/2 chances) have yet to make an impression at World Cups, with just two wins (against Japan and Russia) in their last 12 matches.
Both sides took part in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, which also included Canada, Fiji and Tonga. Samoa failed to find top form with just two wins out of four and average full-time scores of 25 for and 26 against. They did, however, record a 21-16 victory over USA, despite being 21-3 ahead before the break.
The two sides’ only other meeting in the last 10 years was at the 2007 World Cup, where the game followed a similar pattern with the Pacific Islanders winning 25-21 after leading 22-3 at half-time.
It’s not just the USA that Samoa have struggled against; since the last World Cup, they have taken on Georgia, Japan twice and Canada three times, winning just four out of six with only one victory being of a margin greater than 11 points. They are, therefore, tempting 6/1 shouts to triumph by a 6-10 margin.
The Eagles come into the World Cup with just six victories in their last 20, but three in their last five. They have lost their last seven against Pacific Island nations by an average margin of 14 points but only twice by more than 16.
In the last three World Cups, though, USA have proven to put up a good fight against stronger nations. Excluding the eventual pool winners, they have an average losing score of 14-26, with the likes of England, Ireland and Scotland being among their opposition.
Coral’s top tip: USA have never lost to Samoa by more than seven points, so back the Pacific Islanders at 6/1 to win by a margin of 6-10.