Rugby World Cup Pool B: South Africa to lay down marker against Japan
South Africa, 9/2 third-favourites with Coral to win the Rugby World Cup, enter the tournament after a poor 2015 by their very high standards.
Finishing bottom of this year’s Rugby Championship against Southern Hemisphere heavyweights New Zealand and Australia, plus improving Argentina, they have won just three from eight internationals. A Pool B opener against rank 66/1 match outsiders Japan looks the perfect chance for them to make a statement, though.
The Springboks, overwhelmingly odds-on at 1/1000, lost 10 out of 21 matches going into the 2007 edition of the World Cup, but then romped to 59-7 victory over Samoa, and that started a successful tilt at the Webb Ellis Trophy. A margin of victory that is 51 points plus again here is an awesome 11/8 chance.
Samoa and Scotland shall provide South Africa with sterner tests than minnows Japan, nicknamed The Cherry Blossoms, but there is no chance of them flourishing in this group which is completed by the USA.
Australia’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winning coach Eddie Jones has big ambitions for the Japanese, though, with them set to host the next edition in four years’ time and him seeking a top 10 ranking by then.
Cherry Blossoms form is good going into this game with 16 wins in 20, but Japan just don’t perform at tournament, suffering losses to the US, Tonga and Fiji at the last Pacific Nations Cup. Their average losing margin in the last three World Cups to sides that finished first and second in the pool is 48, making the Springboks well worth a punt for a massive victory.
Rising South Africa star Jesse Kriel has already impressed for the Under-20s, and has two senior tries to his name. He’s 7/1 to cross first in this fixture, and make an early impact.
Coral’s top tip: Side with the Springboks to batter Japan by 51 points plus here, and that 11/8 price is your reward.