888Ssport give 1/10 on Springboks topping the group but Samoa may surprise Scotland
South Africa will be delighted with the lot they have been presented in Pool B. The two-time Rugby World Cup champions have been handed ties against Scotland, Samoa, Japan and the USA, all teams they should have far too much power and class for.
Springboks are the heavy favourites to top the pool at 1/10 with 888sport and it is easy to see why. They are the number two-ranked side in the world and their physically imposing pack is a match for anyone. In Handre Pollard they have one of the most exciting number 10s on the planet and he will pull the strings. South Africa have the highest World Cup win percentage of any team at 86.2% and should cruise through here.
This pool looks a big ask for Scotland, who are 14/1 with Stan James to finish at its summit. They will be expected by many to grab second spot but Vern Cotter has not had the impact that was expected since his appointment. Sure, they are playing more attractive rugby but it will take time for them to click. Stuart Hogg is a real threat and the Gray brothers in the pack will shine but they may be pipped by Samoa.
The Samoans are 18/1 to win this pool with Paddy Power, which looks unlikely, but the 13/10 with the same bookmaker on them qualifying looks a fantastic bet. They may not play together as much as most sides due to a lot of players plying their trade in the northern hemisphere, but in the trio of Pisi brothers they have two of the Premiership’s most exciting talents and a Samoan legend. If they can click, Samoa have all the weapons to beat Scotland, in what will be a key clash.
Japan are not the side they were just a year ago when they were in the world’s top 10. They have since dropped back down to 13 and tend to beat the lesser sides but struggle against the bigger teams. They have just one win at the World Cup, against Zimbabwe back in 1991, but their domestic league is extremely strong they may be much better than their 1000/1 with Stan James to win the pool suggests.
The USA are a 2500/1 shot with Stan James and their main aim will be to avoid the wooden spoon. Two of their three World Cup wins have come against the Japanese, so they should be confident of not bringing up the rear.
Bookies.com’s betting tip – Samoa qualify @ 13/10 with Paddy Power