Springboks set for World Cup setback

Date published: November 22 2016

South Africa's disastrous 2016 season will likely come back to haunt them at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The Springboks have dropped to fifth on the World Rankings, which means they are likely to be drawn with one of the side's in the top four for the pool stages at the next World Cup.

The draw to determine the pools will take place in May next year. Allister Coetzee's charges only have one more Test before then – against Wales on Saturday – and are unlikely to get back into the top four in time. The main reason for that is the fact that the Six Nations early next year will give the likes of Ireland (currently fifth) and Wales (sixth) a chance to strengthen their ranking.

The Boks (82.49) in fifth are less than a point ahead of Wales (81.77) and less than a point behind Ireland (83.46).

Coetzee admitted to being worried about the prospect of being drawn with a top four team for the World Cup. The last time South Africa were not among the top four teams in the world was in 2003. They were drawn in a group with eventual winners England that year.

England themselves suffered from this very problem at their own World Cup last year when they ended up in a group with both Wales and Australia.

"One of our goals was to stay among the top four teams on the rankings with the World Cup in mind," Coetzee said.

"We don't want to end up in a group with two other strong teams like what happened to England last year."

After the year the Boks have had, this seems unavoidable.