Day 16 at the Rugby World Cup: Springboks look to keep their campaign alive
South Africa face a must-win clash with Italy at the Rugby World Cup on Friday.
The Springboks will look to keep their campaign going, which Ireland managed on Thursday with a bonus-point win over Russia, while Fiji also got back to winning ways against Georgia.
Here, the PA news agency looks forward to day 16 of the Rugby World Cup.
Kolisi relishing knockout clash
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is relishing his side’s clash against Pool B leaders Italy in Shizuoka.
The Springboks lost their opening match to New Zealand and despite hitting back by scoring nine tries against Namibia, they know anything less than a win over the Italians would end their World Cup dream.
Kolisi said: “We’ve got a really important game, and every game from now is a play-off game because, if we slip up, we are out of the competition.
“Italy are a good side who have beaten us in the past. In a way, we are fortunate that we have to play a knockout game earlier than normal.”
Parisse wants Italy to give their all
Sergio Parisse admits Italy have been thinking about this game for four years, with a maiden quarter-final spot secured if they win.
The Italians are unbeaten on top of Pool B, five points ahead of the Springboks, but they have won just once in 14 meetings against the two-time champions.
Parisse has urged his team-mates to give their all, saying: “We’ve thought about this for four years and now we are days away from it, so we are aware it is an important match for us.
“Each match has its own history and we’ll see what happens on Friday.
“We don’t have the pressure on us. They are the ones who will be feeling the pressure. We have 10 points and we’ve won the matches we need to. We have to sweat and give our all. We can’t finish with any regrets.”
Schmidt wary of Samoans
Typhoons, stifling heat and even rumbling earthquakes have made the World Cup memorable from a meteorological point of view – and the conditions have got Ireland coach Joe Schmidt concerned.
Schmidt watched his side labour to a bonus-point victory over Russia on Thursday with a performance that suggested they might not have it all their own way in their next crucial clash against Samoa.
Schmidt said: “I liked the way we controlled the game in very tough conditions – we were maybe a bit loose with the ball at times in those greasy conditions and high humidity.
“We knew there were 65 handling errors in the two games previously and we maybe tried to make 65 ourselves.
“I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Samoa myself and I know how humid it is there, so they’re going to be a little bit more acclimatised to them.”
Flying Fijians back to their best
Fiji finally got the chance to show off their flair as they shrugged off defeats to Australia and Uruguay in a 45-10 cruise against Georgia.
John McKee’s men might have been languishing at the foot of Pool D but their second half display both won friends and boosted hopes of a third-place finish which would guarantee them qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
Fiji’s blazing second half wing-play in particular delighted McKee, who said: “[It was] a real arm-wrestle for the first, probably, 45 or 50 minutes, but to come home so strong and score some really good tries is very pleasing.
“It’s great to see us scoring some tries out wide and showing our talents to the world.”
Scots bemoan busy schedule
Scotland assistant coach Mike Blair believes changes may have to be made to future World Cups in order to manage the increasing physicality of the game.
The Scots face a four-day double-header against Russia and Japan as they look to continue to bounce back from their opening defeat to Ireland and book their place in the quarter-finals.
Blair says either the tournament schedule should be increased or greater squad numbers should be allowed in order to prevent some nations feeling “vulnerable.”
Blair said: “I think bigger World Cup squads would certainly help. It’s a challenging position to be in.
“You leave yourselves a little bit vulnerable in some positions when you cut down to 31-men.”