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South Africa vs Romania Prediction and Betting Tips

๐Ÿˆ Rugby World Cup 2023 Match Preview

โฐ 17 September 2023 - 17:00 GMT +1

โฐ 17 September 2023 - 23:00 AEST

๐ŸŸ Stadium - Matmut Atlantique (Bordeaux)

The reigning champs South Africa got their Rugby World Cup title defense off to a combative yet successful start, conquering what many saw as a potential banana peel match against Scotland 18-3. It marked the lowest-scoring game of the tournament's opening weekend, with the staunch Springbok defense allowing the fewest points. That should ease some worries among South African fans about surviving the dreaded 'Group of Death' Pool B, but leaving 11 points on the table through poor kicking could raise new concerns.

Nonetheless, the 'Boks have a win on the board and are on track to continue their record of always reaching the knockouts. The real test may come after, with a similarly tough Pool A band of teams likely waiting in the quarters. But South Africa seems to be hitting top gear at the right time, losing just once in their last nine matches (W8). They're expected to easily stretch that run against Pool B minnows Romania, having only ever lost one of 22 previous World Cup games to Tier 2 sides - against Japan in their 2015 opener.

Coach Jacques Nienaber named a very different squad to face the Eastern Europeans compared to the Scotland game. The biggest news was a tourney-ending injury to hooker Malcolm Marx, while lock Eben Etzebeth's return is unknown after hobbling off versus Scotland. Luckily, the Boks boast perhaps unmatched depth and versatility. Carrying four scrum halves who can play other spots is one example. Not bringing in cover for Marx yet and relying on loosies Deon Fourie and Marco van Staden at hooker is another.

After conceding the fewest points last round, Romania copped the biggest scoreline in an 82-8 loss to full-strength Ireland, despite opening with an early try. Now they face the world's second-ranked side in South Africa after number one Ireland. Having given up 226 points while losing their last four tests, they've shown little to convince bookies this will be anything but a mauling from the deadly Bok lineout and on the scoreboard.

Despite a likely 24th World Cup loss in their 30th match, the 19th-ranked Oaks want to prove the Ireland defeat was a one-off. Coach Eugen Apjok has largely kept the same squad to do so, making just three changes with Marius Iftimiciuc, Andre Gorin and Taylor Gontineac coming in. Apjok will remind his team of their tight 21-8 loss to the Boks in 1995, when South Africa went on to lift the trophy.

๐Ÿ“‹ Players to watch:

  • Bok winger and 2019 final hero Makazole Mapimpi sits eighth on South Africa's all-time try scorers list with 23.
  • Those ahead of him like JP Pietersen (24) and Percy Montgomery (25) are within reach. 
  • Romania hopes scrumhalf Gabriel Rupanu explodes out of the blocks like against Ireland, when his try after 2min 11sec was Romania's fastest ever at a World Cup.

โšก Match Facts:

  • South Africa won their Rugby World Cup opener 18-3 against Scotland
  • It was the lowest scoring match of the tournament's first weekend
  • South Africa's defense only conceded 3 points, the fewest of any team
  • The win gets defending champs South Africa off to a good start in Pool B
  • South Africa has won 8 of their last 9 matches, only losing once
  • They are expected to beat Romania, having only lost 1 of 22 previous World Cup games against Tier 2 sides
  • Malcolm Marx suffered a season-ending injury for South Africa
  • Eben Etzebeth's return is uncertain after getting injured against Scotland
  • South Africa has great squad depth and versatility to cover injuries
  • Romania lost their opener 82-8 to Ireland, conceding the most points
  • Romania has lost 4 straight tests, giving up 226 points
  • They are ranked 19th in the world compared to South Africa at 2nd
  • Romania wants to prove the Ireland loss was a one-off poor performance
  • Coach Eugen Apjok made 3 changes to his starting XV
  • Romania lost 21-8 to eventual champion South Africa in 1995
  • Makazole Mapimpi is a player to watch for South Africa
  • Gabriel Rupanu is one to watch for Romania after a quick try against Ireland
  • South Africa has scored more points in the 2nd half in 16 of their last 20 tests
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๐Ÿ’ก Match Prediction:

Based on South Africa's dominant opening performance against Scotland and Romania's lopsided loss to Ireland, this match appears poised to be a comfortable Springbok victory.

South Africa showed their trademark suffocating defense in allowing just 3 points to Scotland, the fewest of any team in the first round. Their squad depth and versatility will help cover the injuries to Marx and Etzebeth. The Boks have lost just once in their last 9 matches and seem to be peaking at the right time to defend their title.

Meanwhile, Romania was overwhelmed by Ireland, conceding 82 points and 226 points total across their last 4 losses. They are outmatched against the world #2 Springboks and have little evidence to suggest the scoreline will be much different than the Ireland match.

However, Romania will aim to put forth a better effort and prove that Ireland result was an anomaly. The Oaks have some motivation from their relatively close 21-8 loss to the Boks in 1995. But South Africa's second half scoring prowess suggests they will pull away late for a comfortable win margin.

Prediction: South Africa by 50+ points

Betting Tips: South Africa -45.5 spread - 10/11 odds Over 58.5 total points - 10/11 odds

I expect South Africa to cover a 45.5+ point spread easily against overmatched Romania. The Boks' late scoring should also push the game over 58.5 total points. South Africa by 55-10 is a probable outcome.

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