Scotland take on Samoa in the opening weekend of the Autumn Internationals, but what’s the history between the two teams? And who is likely to win?
These sides have met 10 times in the past with Scotland winning 8, Samoa 1 and 1 draw. Samoa’s only win over the Scots came in Durban in 2013 and our model suggests that they are unlikely to repeat this performance, with the latest predictions giving the Scots a healthy 28 point win, the match predicted to finish 36-8.
Their first ever match came during Rugby World Cup 1991 and the Scots won on Murrayfield home turf 28-6. A draw and 3 easy Scottish wins followed, but after 2000 the matches became a much closer affair, all Scottish victories coming by a try or less, with their last contest a 36-33, end-to-end thriller during Rugby World Cup 2015. Indeed their rankings throughout history suggest that this match should always be close contest.
However, Scotland have improved vastly over the past 2 years under Vern Cotter’s stewardship, beating Wales and Ireland during the 2017 6 Nations and even notching up a rare away win against Australia during their summer tour there. New coach Gregor Townsend will have his work cut out to follow such fine form.
Samoa conversely, have had a torrid 2 years since the Rugby World Cup, only notching up 2 wins in 10 games, including a 78-0 hammering by the All Blacks in the warm up for the Lions arrival back in June. There are also recent rumours of bankruptcy in the Samoan Rugby Union, which point to greater difficulties off the pitch.
All of this would lead to suggesting an easy Scottish win, as our model predicts. However, it is worth mentioning that our model seems to consistently underestimate the Samoans, who would like nothing better to turn over a Tier 1 nation on away turf using their superior physicality. We think that Scotland should still finish ahead of the Samoans come full time, but that it may be a little closer than the 36-8 that the data predicts.