RWC Match Preview: Canada vs South Africa

Source: AP

Canada’s Rugby World Cup rolls on with a match against the Springboks. This will be just the 3rd meeting between the 2 nations with the Springboks earning victories in both previous encounters. Canada is coming off of a huge defeat to the All Blacks where they were shut out for the 2nd time in Rugby World Cup history. The first time was by the Springboks in one of their two aforementioned previous encounters. Canada will once again face a tough test.

The Springboks were arguably the most in-form team heading into the tournament. They lost to the All Blacks in their opener, but bounced back nicely with bonus point wins over Canada and Namibia. This will be their final match of the pool stage and they are currently tied with Italy at 10 points. A victory over Canada will ensure the Springboks go through to the knockout stage as even if Italy upsets the All Blacks, South Africa will win the tiebreaker.

Starting XV


Kingsley Jones has made 6 changes to the Starting XV and a few new faces show up in the reserves as well. In the front row, props Hubert Buydens and Jake Ilnicki start with Toronto Arrows’ hooker Andrew Quattrin earning his first Rugby World Cup start. The biggest change is the return of Kyle Baillie from a knee injury. Baillie plays a key leadership role within the pack and is a welcome return to the Arrows lineup. Gordon McRorie will not start at scrumhalf for the first time in this RWC. Veteran Phil Mack gets the nod with Jamie Mackenzie backing up.

Canada’s lone try scorer of the tournament, Andrew Coe will get a start at fullback as Patrick Parfrey is given the night off. No surprises on the forward side of the reserves, but a few interesting names in the 22 and 23 jersey. Shane O’Leary finally gets into a game at this Rugby World Cup. O’Leary is the best kicker on the team. Many also argue that he is the best flyhalf. However, Jones had clearly favoured Peter Nelson in selection. Nelson once again starts, but O’Leary should be given an opportunity to prove himself in the 2nd half.

The injuries to Ben LeSage and Nick Blevins led to Guiseppe du Toit being called up. Du Toit had a great season with the Toronto Arrows but was one of Canada’s last cuts. The injury situation has thrust him into a match with the Springboks. It’s a big opportunity for du Toit, let’s see if he takes advantage of it.


Rassie Erasmus has given many of his 1st choice players the day off. The Springbok lineup to take on Canada will not feature Faf de Klerk, Tendai Mtawarira, Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen, or Cheslin Kolbe. However, the Springboks still poses plenty of talent throughout the lineup and will be heavy favourites against Canada.

Captain Siya Kolisi will still start at blindside flanker. Kolisi will be part of a heavy and talented pack that features Schalk Brits, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, and Francois Louw. Third choice scrumhalf Cobus Reinach gets a start in the 9 jersey. The starting backs will also feature S’bu Nkosi on the wing. Nkosi has not featured heavily at this RWC, but the rising star posses an elite finishing touch. The Canadian wingers will certainly have their hands full with the speedster.

The scary proposition for Canada is when the game wears on and they start to tire, the Springboks can send out their bench. Many of the Springboks’ first choice players like Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Handre Pollard will come off the bench and provide a big boost in the final stages of the game.

3 Things to Watch

The Set Piece

Canada’s set-piece has been an area of weakness throughout the tournament. They struggled against the All Blacks. The All Blacks dominated the scrum and feasted on Canadian throws at the lineout. Canada will be in tough again with the Springboks.

The Springboks have one of the best scrums in the world (and that is evident throughout the lineup, not just the guys that typically start). The scrum will be in tough against the great technique, size, and strength the Springboks bring. Canada will get a boost in the lineout though. Kyle Baillie’s return should bring some stability to the lineout as Canada gets their regular play-caller back.

Cherish Possession

Canada has mentioned it numerous times. Tyler Ardron said after the All Blacks loss that Canada needs to cherish possession of the ball. They said that a handful of times before too. However, this idea has not yet been put into practice. Some box kicks really hurt Canada against the All Blacks. Similarly, the elite talent in the Springboks outside backs S’bu Nkosi, Warrick Gelant, Damian Willemse, and flyhalf Elton Jantjies will make you pay for any ill-advised or ill-placed kicks.

They have been saying it for a while, but it is time to put it into practice: hold onto the ball. Possession will be hard to come by, don’t just give the Springboks the ball back.

Lucas Rumball

Toronto Arrows back rower Lucas Rumball was outstanding against the All Blacks. Rumball made a game-leading 19 tackles at a 95% success rate. His defensive performance was outstanding. He also had an offload that sprung Peter Nelson for Canada’s best scoring opportunity of the game. Rumball also drew a key penalty on Kieran Read that set up another opportunity for Canada. All with a fractured finger too.

In this match, Rumball will be matched up against Siya Kolisi. The Springbok captain is one of the best flankers in the world. A matchup with Kolisi could present a challenge for Rumball, however, after a strong performance against the All Blacks, he looks up for the task. It will be great to see how Rumball fares against one of the world’s best.

Canada takes on the Springboks in the 3rd game of their Rugby World Cup campaign. You can catch the game at 6:15am on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 on TSN. As always, follow @Bressette4 on twitter for all your updates on the game.

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