Image: Rugby Union – Samoa v United States of America – IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool B – Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton, England – 20/9/15 Samoa celebrate their victory at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters / Peter Cziborra Livepic
BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) – Samoa expect South Africa to come out all guns blazing in their Rugby World Cup encounter on Saturday as the wounded Springboks look to atone for their shocking 34-32 defeat to Japan in their Pool B opener.
The loss to Japan, which has been described as the greatest upset in the history of the tournament, would ensure South Africa are fully focussed for the game at Villa Park, said Samoa coach Stephen Betham.
“We know there will be probably be a backlash, but we’re going to be ready for it,” he said as the Pacific Islanders began preparations for the clash. “We are going to give it everything.” Samoa, looking to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for a third time, got their own campaign started on Sunday with a 25-16 victory over the United States at the Brighton Community Stadium, the same venue where Japan beat twice champions South Africa.
“The tier one nations all got a wake-up call after Japan beat South Africa,” added Betham. “Our surprise factor is gone and they are going to come with all guns blazing.” However, he was not convinced that Japan’s shock win demonstrated a closing of the gap between the established rugby powers and the rest.
“That’s a hard one. We look for consistency, we haven’t struck that yet. We play well, then we play below average but that consistency is something we are still fishing for,” he said, adding that Japan’s win had not altered Samoa’s planning. “We must understand this is a World Cup and every country has brought its best team and everyone starts off on a level field,” he said.
“And whoever takes their chances on the day will be very hard to beat.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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