South Africa produced an ominous performance when opening up the defence of the Rugby World Cup by shutting down a strong Scotland team and Romania will be fearing the worst for Sunday’s meeting, Sept 17th, in Bordeaux.
The Europeans are returning to the sight of their 82-8 12-try thrashing they received at the hands of Ireland last weekend and another heavy loss is expected, with the Oaks 65-point underdogs on the handicap.
The Springboks have rung the changes from the 18-3 win over Scotland, but it’s far from an understrength team they are sending out and the world champions will be keen to match Ireland’s performance in the battle for top spot in Pool B.
South Africa’s team shows 14 changes from a week ago with Damian Willemse, who has been moved to fly-half from full-back, the only survivor.
Prop Vincent Koch makes his first start for the Boks since the 2019 World Cup, while Grant Williams, usually a scrum-half is on the wing.
Romania’s team shows three changes, with 35-year-old back-row forward Andre Gorin handed his first World Cup start, while centre Taylor Gontineac and second-row forward Marius Iftimiciuc also come into the team.
South Africa -65 @ 20/21
South Africa’s biggest win at a Rugby World Cup was an 87-0 thrashing of Namibia in 2011 and they’ve picked a team that may go close to matching that landmark success.
Although Jacques Nienaber has shaken up his team and is playing a few people out of position, he’s selected a team with an excellent mix of pace and the usual Boks power.
Romania have held their own at past World Cups and went into the Ireland game having covered the handicap in their previous five games at the tournament.
But the warning signs were there pre-tournament that this is a poor side, when they shipped 50-plus in warm-up games with Italy and Georgia and unless South Africa ease off, the Oaks are in for another long afternoon.
South Africa may have one eye on next week’s clash with Ireland, which is likely to decide Pool B, but for a lot of these players, this is their chance to stake a claim for a place in the team to face the Irish and they’ll be keen to make an impression.
The Boks have covered the handicap in their last six World Cup clashes with tier-two nations and have a good chance to extend that record in Bordeaux.
Canan Moodie first tryscorer @ 11/2
Canan Moodie is one of South Africa’s rising stars who had been tipped to start against Scotland after a stunning showing in the warm-up win over New Zealand.
Unfortunately for Romania, Moodie was left out of the matchday squad and will no doubt have the bit between his teeth for this game.
The 20-year-old ripped through the All Blacks on his first start at outside centre and will be wearing the number 13 shirt again on Sunday.
Moodie had a try disallowed against New Zealand, but had scored twice in South Africa’s demolition of Wales in the previous game, taking is tally to four tries in eight appearances for the Boks.
Having scored eight tries in eight games for the Bulls in last season’s United Rugby Championship, albeit from the wing, he’s clearly got a nose for the try-line and is worth chancing to open the scoring.