RWC 2023: Boks need bonus-point win against Tonga – with the Scots lurking

RWC 2023: Boks need bonus-point win against Tonga – with the Scots lurking

Scotland would do the Boks a favour if they beat Ireland by eight points or more. That outcome would allow the Boks to top the pool … and would see Scotland and Ireland finishing level

The Springboks have been boosted by the return of flyhalf and goalkicker Handré Pollard, and are favourites to beat Tonga in their fourth and final World Cup pool match in Marseille this Sunday.

They will be under pressure to score as many points as possible and get the largest possible points difference. Having achieved that, they will have to wait for the result of the Ireland-­Scotland match on 7 October to see whether they finish first, second or third in Pool B.

The team that wins this group probably tackles the All Blacks in the quarter­finals, but the runners-up face an equally daunting challenge in the shape of France.

Either scenario is preferable, of course, to the one that sees South Africa finishing third in the pool and exiting the tournament before the knockout stage.

All three scenarios are possible. Ireland, Scotland and South Africa are all in the running for the top spot in Pool B, but all are vulnerable to early elimination.

World Cup pool tie-breakers

With just a few games remaining, it’s still possible that Ireland, Scotland and the Boks will finish the pool phase with the same number of log points.

Under tournament rules, the first tie-breaker for two teams finishing on the same number of log points is the head-to-head result between them.

If  Ireland, Scotland and South Africa are on the same number of points, this tie-breaker will not apply, as South Africa would have beaten Scotland, Ireland would have beaten South Africa, and Scotland would have beaten Ireland (more on this possible result later). None of the teams would deserve to be above the other two on this basis.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Rugby World Cup 2023

Why the Boks need a big win

The next tie-breaker would be points difference, followed by the difference between tries scored and conceded, then most points, most tries and, finally, world rankings as of 9 October. Ireland currently lead the rankings, followed by South Africa (third) and Scotland (f

…. to be continued
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