It was reported that the Springbok coach and his coaching team had left no stone unturned in their preparation for the 2015 RWC. To demonstrate just how thorough they had been it was reported that the Springbok coaching team had even researched the last 30 years of weather in the uk, to try workout what kind of weather conditions they’ll be playing in.
Surely a stone that was left unturned was actually playing the teams that you were due to face in the pool games previous to the RWC. By doing this you could have a good look at your opposition and see how you get on against them.
South Africa played against Japan for the first time ever in their historic defeat against them in the 2015 RWC. South Africa could not have been familiar with Japan’s players or style having no experience of playing against them.
The last time South Africa played against the U.S.A was in the pool game of the 2007 RWC. That was back in the Jake White days. As we know rugby has changed a lot since then and the technical abilities of the ‘minnows’ has improved imeasurably.
South Africa last played against Samoa in June 2013, the only time in Heyneke Meyer’s 4 years in charge. The Samoan team in 2013 was one that was missing many of the bigger stars of Samoan rugby. There really isn’t an awful lot of getting to know your opposition when you meet once in a four year build-up to the RWC.
South Africa have got to know Scotland a lot more than the other 3 teams having played Scotland once in 2012, twice in 2013 and once more in 2014. This may also be an indicator of who they saw as a serious threat.
In future maybe some fixtures against your pool opponents might be arranged as preparation for the RWC instead of trying to predict the weather.