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The 2019 World Cup Rugby fever is in full swing, and nothing brings South Africans across the globe closer together like a big rugby match. Braaing and shouting at the referees on television with beers in hand is a national pastime, and this World Cup offers six weeks of competitive, intense patriotic rivalry along with the opportunity to wear our Springbok rugby jerseys to work and school.

If you haven’t already been swept up by the gees, or you’re a rugby newbie, here’s what you need to know ahead of the Springbok Rugby team’s game against Canada.

South Africa vs Canada game time: 19h15 (Japan Standard Time) on 8 October 2019

Top tip: Here’s the schedule of all the matches, and where to watch them. Best of all? Game times are shown in your local times, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out any potential time zone differences!

Wait. Canada plays rugby?

Yes, it’s true! Although they’re best known for their aggressive love of ice hockey and lacrosse, Canadians have been hearty rugby enthusiasts since their international debut against Japan in 1932. Here’s what you need to know about their national rugby union team:

  • They’re called Équipe du Canada de rugby à XV in French and this team plays in red and white.
  • In terms of World Rugby classifications, Canada is considered a tier two rugby nation (In case you didn’t already know, there are 10 tier one nations, and 13 tier two nations).
  • This classification means that they participate in competitions like the Americas Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup.
  • While they might be a tier two rugby nation, they’ve competed in every World Cup since its inception in 1987 – the only North American team to do so.
  • That’s right, that means they have a participation advantage over South Africa, because the Springboks were unable to participate in two World Cups, thanks to a sports ban on the country during apartheid.
  • Canada’s best World Cup result was achieved in 1991, and they made it through to the quarterfinals.
  • Canada was once the top beaver of North American rugby and second on the continent, but today they rank fourth in the Americas, behind Argentina, the United States and Uruguay. 
  • Despite the fact that they’re currently rated 22nd in the World Cup rankings, the Canadian national team has enjoyed their share of underdog victories, beating stronger Six Nations teams such as France, Wales, Italy, and Scotland on at least one occasion in the past.

Need some cool Rugby World Cup statistics to throw into conversation the next time someone mentions the Springboks vs Canada match? We’ve got you covered.

Canada has played 31 RWC matches with a 23% win rate and has scored:

  • 534 RWC points, which averages out to 17.23 points per match.
  • 57 RWC tries, which works out to 1.84 tries per match.
  • 34 conversions, 57 penalties and 8 drop goals.

Take a look at the Canadian Rugby World Cup squad here. It’s interesting to note that the only player who scored in all four games for Canada in the last World Cup is a South African expat that moved to Canada as a teen. Wing, DTH van der Merwe will be making his fourth Rugby World Cup appearance in 2019 wearing red and white and sporting the maple leaf emblem.

Now, let’s talk about SA Rugby.

We’ve played six of the eight Rugby World Cup tournaments, having been barred from the first two by an international sports boycott. Once apartheid had ended, South Africa hosted their first Rugby World Cup in 1995, winning the tournament. The Springboks were victorious again in 2007 at the World Cup in France, and with two Cup wins, they’re in the top three performing teams, along with Australia who also have two wins under their belt. No surprises that the top ranking goes to New Zealand with three World Cup victories. 

Let’s review how the Springbok rugby team have performed in the Rugby World Cup:

We are currently ranked 5th in the world and we’ve played 39 matches with an 82% win rate. We’ve scored:

  • 1369 RWC points, which is an average of 35.1 per match.
  • 158 tries, which works out to 4.05 per match.
  • 114 conversions, 101 penalties and 16 drop goals.

You can see the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad lineup here, and get a fascinating, insightful look into the team over here. If you’re interested in taking a trip down memory lane and reliving past Rugby World Cups, take a look at this awesome round up of the Top 10 Rugby World Cup Moments to Remember, along with the Springbok Top 5 Rugby World Cup Moments.

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**All stats updated at the time the article was published.