Rugby World Cup Opponent Preview: Get to Know Scotland

Pool B became the talk of the tournament after Japan's iconoclastic feat against the Springboks. Though it is unlikely we'll witness such a shock victory again in this tournament, that shouldn't come as a surprise: the Brave Blossoms' 34-32 win is up there with the biggest underdog stories in all of sports history.

What that result in Brighton can do is serve to inspire every fledgling nation that comes up against the South Africas of world rugby.

It's almost unheard of for the South African rugby team to go on such a poor run of form - they went winless in the Rugby Championship - but that's just the position in which Heyneke Meyer's men find themselves. Their loss to Japan will rank as the worst in their proud history, but it's for that very reason that the Samoans - who will never shy away from a battle - will have to brace themselves for an intense reaction.

Much to the regret of their new legion of fans, Japan were unable to reach anywhere near their previous level of potency in their next match, with just a four-day turnaround leaving them with depleted wells of energy and emotion against the fresh Scots.

The Eagles failed to see off the Samoan advances in Brighton the following day - though highlights included a breathtaking sweeping move finished off by captain Chris Wyles - thought it was by no means a one-sided contest.

Now, on Sunday, Scotland will experience a spry Eagles team with a week of preparation in the bank. The Eagles have every right to head into the match at Elland Road, Leeds, with a head full of confidence and a suitcase full of ambition.

Before taking the reins at Scotland, coach Vern Cotter was more accustomed to winning streaks with Clermont Auvergne in the Top 14, but credit to the Kiwi for taking on what many in Europe viewed as a thankless task.

A key match-up in Scotland v USA is that of Josh Strauss and Manu Samoa at the base of the scrum. Strauss, born in South Africa, is hard to miss - unless you live in a community where gargantuan beards are the norm. Scotland's forward-orientated game will heavily involve the number eight, whilst Manoa will be desperate to show off his considerable talents before his move to Toulon.

Scotland wing Tim Visser is back in the team, as one of 10 changes to the side. The Flying Dutchman, so-called because he hails from Zeewolde in the Netherlands, was a try-scoring machine in the Pro12, and is now set to announce himself in similar fashion to the English Premiership with Harlequins.

If the Eagles can keep their high-tempo approach going for the full 80 minutes against the middleweight Scots, the win would reinforce Pool B's credentials as the most memorable pool in World Cup history.