The Springboks’ position in pool B at the World Cup is suddenly looking a little less secure after their loss to Ireland last weekend, although securing a losing bonus point could prove to be a huge factor in the final reckoning.
Ireland are top of the group with 14 points, the Springboks are second on 10, while Scotland have moved level with South Africa after a big win over Romania on Saturday.
Although the Springboks actually have a worse points difference than Scotland, it’s worth noting that they remain in second place due to the fact that team standings are first determined by the head to head record.
Importantly, if South Africa and Scotland finish level on the log points, the Springboks will advance because they beat Scotland in the their head-to-head clash in the opening round.
Springboks Must Simply Target a Bonus Point Win Over Tonga
A bonus-point win for the Boks will take them to 15 log points – the most Scotland can reach – and even then the Scots would need to beat Ireland with a bonus point in their final pool game to get there.
Should the Springboks progress to the last eight as Pool B runners-up, which is most likely to happen out of all the possible scenarios, they will face hosts France in the quarter-final, while the pool winners Ireland will square off against the All Blacks.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that Ireland would be expected to beat Scotland in their final pool game in a result that would certainly help the South African cause, but stranger things have happened.
Remaining Pool B Fixtures
Sun 1 Oct – South Africa v Tonga (9pm, Stade Vélodrome, Marseille)
Sat 7 Oct – Ireland v Scotland (9pm, Stade de France, Paris)
Sun 8 Oct – Tonga v Romania (5.45pm, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)