Preview: Canada v South Africa
WORLD CUP POOL MATCH: Canada and South Africa have played at the global showpiece before. It was a horrible match which will not be even nearly replicated in Kobe on Tuesday.
The two countries have met only twice in Test matches, which is not surprising as it’s over 16 000 km from Cape Town to Vancouver as the crow flies and airlines, in this case, do not do what crow apparently does.
Not only distance is the problem, but the two are in different leagues.
World Cup history tells you that.
Canada has been in all eight World Cups, playing 31 matches with seven wins.
South Africa has been to six World Cups, playing 39 matches with 32 wins.
The first match between the two countries was in Port Elizabeth during the World Cup in 1995, a ghastly affair.
The kick-off had to be delayed by 45 minutes because the lights failed.
Then, match on, there was a fight which ended with two Canadians and a South Africa sent off. This was followed up with the further suspension of a player from each team. It was the worst World Cup match ever.
South Africa and Canada played again in East London in 2000 – an honourable match. In that match the present Springbok coach, Rassie Erasmus was on the flank.
Now they meet again in Kobe, about 420 km southwest of Tokyo – under three hours in the bullet train.
There may be a difference in ambitions.
For South Africa, this is the last pool match and their thoughts may well already be heading to the quarterfinal.
Canada still has one more match – against Namibia, their best chance of winning a match at the 2019 World Cup.
Players to Watch
For South Africa: It seems have a B team to start with but an A team on the bench. The only players who started in the vital clash with Italy that are back to start against Canada are Damian de Allende and captain Siyamthanda Kolisi. The bench is clearly a “get out of jail” card. This time De Allende is picked at outside centre with Frans Steyn on his inside. That is interesting. The locks, Franco Mostert and Rudolph Snyman, are both top-class players, as are the loose forwards – Francois Louw, Albertus Smith and Kolisi.
For Canada: Captain Tyler Ardron is a big, strong player who had an excellent Super Rugby with the Chiefs. He is certainly worth watching. For DTH van der Merwe the match must be a treat – playing against the Springboks, who would have been his dream team growing up in Worcester in the Western Cape, and playing for Boland at the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week. He has been a star for Canada at centre or out on the wing and holds the Canadian record for Test tries – 38 tries in 60 Tests. He is 33 now, a father of three, but still a whole-hearted, fearless player – player, not playboy despite the hair dyed blond. DTH? Daniel Tailliferre Hauman.
Head to Head
It’s hard to see where there will be a tough contest – between individuals or units. South Africa looks better equipped everywhere. Kobe is known for its beef – and so is the Springbok side. It will be a tough time for the Canadians, and it is devoutly to be hoped that their props will stay intact for the whole of the match. Another dose of uncontested scrums would be awful.
This year so far
Canada has not had a good year. They beat the United States more often than they lose to them, but this year they have lost to their neighbours three times. In fact of 10 matches played against other countries, they have beaten only Chile. Amongst their defeats is one against Brazil in Sao Paulo. South Africa have played eight, winning six, drawing one and losing one. They drew with and lost to New Zealand but beat Australia, Argentina (twice), Japan, Italy and Namibia.
Results against common opponents at the 2019 World Cup
Against Italy: Canada lost 7-48; South Africa won 49-3
Against New Zealand: Canada lost 0-63; South Africa lost 13-23
Prediction: South Africa will win by a big margin, 40 points or more. If they don’t, they should’ve.
Canada: 15 Andrew Coe, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Phil Mack, 8 Tyler Ardron (captain), 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Lucas Rumball, 5 Kyle Baillie, 4 Evan Olmstead, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Andrew Quattrin, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Benoît Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Matthew Tierney, 19 Josh Larsen, 20 Mike Sheppard, 21 Jamie Mackenzie, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Guiseppe du Toit.
South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Warrick Gelant, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Albertus Smith, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux.
Date: Tuesday, 5 October 2019
Venue: Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City – capacity 30 000.
Kick-off: 19.15 (12.15 South Africa time, 06.15 Eastern Canadian time, 10.15 GMT)
Expected weather: Some sunshine, some cloud, some rain with a High of 21°C and a low of 17°C. The stadium is open to the sky.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)