An ominous air surrounds South Africa going into this match against Scotland. Shocked by Japan, they bullied Samoa and now look to be regathering the composure that befits the two-time world champions.
Scotland are striving to win their pool for the first time since 1991. But, in the four matches since they secured their own shock win over the Springboks in 2010, the Scots have conceded 134 points to them and scored just 33.
An average disparity of more than 25 points means that the 15 Sportingbet is giving them on the handicap market isn’t enough, and I’ll take South Africa -15 at 10/11.
In the absence of injured and subsequently retired captain Jean De Villiers, scrum half Fourie Du Preez skippers the side, which is littered with authority and menace throughout.
Even with veteran forward Victor Matfield omitted, the forward pack still averages 50 caps. A third of the starting XV – Du Preez, Schalk Burger, JP Pietersen, Jannie du Plessis and namesake Bismark – are also World Cup winners. This side is gnarled, wise and ready to make a statement against their first Tier 1 opponents in this tournament.
Unfortunately for Scotland, it could be a Springbok mauling, which is why a buy of South Africa tries at 3.8 with Sporting Index appeals.
Experienced Springbok wing Pietersen scored a hat-trick against Samoa and I’d back him to get the ball rolling – he’s priced at 8/1 to score the first try with Sportingbet.