Springboks a laughing stock after Japan embarrassed them, but this was the wake-up call South African rugby needed and they're still odds-on to top Pool B.
The opening weekend of the 2015 edition produced biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history; the proud and mighty Springboks downed by Japan.
Nobody saw it coming, least of all South Africa, who were outplayed and out-thought by their Asian opponents in a dramatic 32-34 loss. It was so embarrassing that coach Heyneke Meyer felt the need to come out and apologise to the nation after a dismal display.
However, that slip-up is not expected to cause the Springboks too much anguish with the bookies still making them favourites to top Pool B, and BetVictor and Coral offer the best-price at 4/11.
Such is the quality within South Africa’s side, they are expected to recover and they may even be value at a top-price 10/1 with Ladbrokes to be crowned Rugby World Cup winners again.
Here are five reasons that they can bounce back from defeat to Japan…
It will shock them into life
There’s nothing like embarrassment to dispose of complacency, si the Springsboks shall not be allowed to take any of their opponents lightly hereafter. Expect a massive reaction in their next few games; senior players, the South African nation and under-fire coach Heyneke Meyer will all demand it.
Springboks have superb record against Samoa and Scotland
It’s safe to say South Africa have a pretty strong record against their two main rivals in their group. They have never lost to Samoa, and ran in over 50 points when they last met just two years ago.
The Springboks’ record against Scotland is also pretty sharp. They have lost just once in a dozen matches, and the Scots have scored just six points against them in their previous two clashes.
South Africa’s Rugby World Cup record
Quarter-final line-ups at this tournament down the years have always included the Springboks. They know how to get through the pool stages and, despite their loss to Japan, the experience within their squad will see them progress again.
Springbok hero Bryan Habana can bail them out
No active player has scored more tries than South African legend Habana. The winger was below par, as all his teammates were, against Japan and he will be eager to protect his legacy. Any man who has crossed for 59 Test tries is an ace in the pack.
It’s not just the aforementioned winger, but the Springboks squad is packed full of wise heads who know what it takes to progress in tournament rugby. No fewer than 11 of their players have 50 caps or more under their belts and that will prove key.
BETTING TIP: South Africa finish top of Rugby World Cup Pool B @ 4/11 with BetVictor.