Samoa 25 -16 USA
The brilliant thing about the Rugby World Cup concept is that it is meant to improve the quality of rugby around the world. And we have seen that promise come true over the last 7 Cups, and particularly in the first six matches of this Cup.
The so-called Tier 1 countries are never going to have it all their own way ever again, because the rest of the world will catch up faster than they can go ahead. Japan yesterday is the prime evidence.
This match is the internal side of that function: a couple of second-tier teams who each are trying to get ahead. But that means they can’t quite break out of each other’s clutches.
Because Samoa and USA have both improved from the last Cup. Samoa’s discipline and pattern shows a professional mindset. There’s a loss of spontaneous brilliance, sure, but many more points collected, and fewer given away. Tim Nanai-Williams and Jack Lam both used their Super XV experience to great effect.
For the USA, their physicality, skills and structure are another step ahead from 2011. But there is still a naiveté in much of what they attempt, and the lines they are forced into playing. They must be worried about still being towed along behind in Japan’s wake.
So, here’s the Pool B table: