Boks drawn against bruising Samoa for fourth time in a row

2012-12-04 00:00

THE Springboks, for the fourth consecutive time, have been drawn in the same Rugby World Cup pool as the bruising Samoans.

The draw for the 2015 RWC, to be staged in England, was made in London yesterday and the Springboks — second to the All Blacks on the International Rugby Board rankings — were drawn with Samoa and Scotland. They will be joined in Pool B by qualifiers from Asia and America, with the top two advancing to the quarter-finals.

Of course, with the draw being made ridiculously early — three years in advance of the event — much could change in the world’s pecking order by 2015.

But what is certain is that Samoa will still be physical and committed.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer attended yesterday’s draw at the Tate Modern in London, and said later that he was satisfied with the pool allocation.

“Our aim was to be in the first band of teams and we achieved that, moving from fourth at the start of the year to second in the IRB world rankings,” said Meyer.

“As I said before the draw was made, it doesn’t matter who we are drawn against, because to win the World Cup, you have to beat the best teams out there.”

Meyer, following England’s weekend upset win over the All Blacks in London, said that the gap between the top teams had closed.

“We have seen that over the past month in the Northern Hemisphere.

“There really is very little to choose between the top sides in the world, while the next batch of teams has also improved significantly.”

The 12 qualified teams have been drawn into four pools and the remaining eight teams, involved in qualification games, have still to be confirmed.

Pool A will be the most taxing and the Australians will have to see off the challenge of hosts England and Wales, in front of home support, to reach the last eight.

The French will face fellow-Six Nation teams in Ireland and Italy while the world champion All Blacks, in Pool D, have been drawn with Argentina and Tonga.

The IRB’s annual awards were also made in London yesterday and it has not been a good week for All Black captain Richie McCaw.

Not only did he lead the New Zealanders in defeat at Twickenham on Saturday, but he was yesterday edged out by team-mate, All Black flyhalf Dan Carter, as the IRB’s Player of the Year. McCaw, former Sharks and French flyhalf Freddie Michalak and England’s Owen Farrell, another flyhalf, were the other finalists.

New Zealand made a clean sweep of the major awards, securing the Team of the Year title, while Steve Hansen took the Coach of the Year.

POOLS FOR RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015

Pool A: Australia, England, Wales, Oceania 1,

Playoff winners

Pool B: South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1,

Americas 2

Pool C: New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1

Pool D: France, Ireland, Italy, Americas 1,

Europe 2

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