Rugby World Cup Pool B: Scots should have just enough to beat Samoa
Scotland lost their last encounter with Pacific Islands nation Samoa, but are firm odds-on 1/4 favourites with Coral to put that right and ensure they qualify for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals before Japan play the USA in Pool B’s final fixture.
If Vern Cotter’s team earn victory at St James’ Park, then even if the Brave Blossoms earn two bonus points in their game, it will be the Scots who advance having already beaten the East Asians at Kingsholm. Other permutations are more complicated, but the Samoans cannot reach the last eight, so taking a matchday special of 8/5 on four or more Scottish tries (max stake £20) makes sense.
Each of the four meetings between Scotland and Samoa during the last decade have been too close for comfort from a Celtic perspective, but another upset here is a 7/2 shout. The common denominator is a winning margin of 10 points or less, with two of the last three Scottish victories coming in the 1-5 bracket.
It’s a tough call, but Cotter’s crew have kept their supporters and punters who piled money on them in previous pool outings very tense during first halves. The narrower margin of victory is 11/2, while the 6-10 points bracket is 9/2. These are preferable to taking the overall 1-10 at 2/1.
One blessing for Scotland is the absence of Samoa winger Alesana Tuilagi through suspension, though Paul Perez moves out wide as a result. He crossed for the final try in the 26-5 loss to Japan last time out, but is 16/1 to do so again. Perez makes for a safer anytime bet of 11/4.
Prop Gordon Reid, who has been named among Cotter’s replacements for this contest, feels the Samoans will be out to derail their bid to reach the quarters, but there enough Scottish muscle to cope with that. “Everyone is saying it’s a nothing match for them, but they will be determined to finish on a high,” he said.
“They have a big physical pack who play straight rugby pretty similar to South Africa, so hopefully we will wear them down and our physicality will come through and get us the win. We know it is not going to be easy. They are big and physical and they have beaten us before, but we will be fresh coming into the weekend and we will be ready.”
Scotland are also buoyed by the return to fitness of quintet Finn Russell, John Hardie, Stuart Hogg (available in an enhanced 5/2 wincast), Sean Maitland and Ross Ford for this encounter. This allows Cotter to make seven changes from the Springboks defeat last time out.
Maitland replaces Tim Visser on one wing, while Tommy Seymour continues on the other, and they are 8/1 and 7/1 respectively to cross the try-line first. Seymour has two from as many Rugby World Cup outings, so is also worth a shout at 7/2 for a brace or better again.
Coral’s top tip: Scotland are worth siding with to win by 6-10 points at 9/2.