The Springboks will have been eyeing a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Ireland before the weekend, but one of Saturday’s results went against the scripts.
Shortly before Rassie Erasmus’ men delivered a straightforward performance against Namibia, host nation Japan stunned Ireland by running off 19-12 winners.
The victory was the Brave Blossoms’ second in as many matches, and puts them in prime position to finish first in Pool A, with Scotland the biggest challenge lying in wait for them in the first round.
Springboks vs Japan quarterfinal highly likely
The Boks have had a run-in with the hosts, as recent as early September, where they faced them in a warm-up game, which ended comfortably in the men in green’s favour.
Erasmus says he is expecting a different challenge from Japan, should they meet again in the last eight.
“I said when we played [Japan] that the score [41-7] wasn’t a true reflection of the game and if you listen to the recording I said that if we manage to get through to the quarterfinals I was pretty sure that we might play Japan.
“I always thought Japan was a realistic contender for getting through to the quarterfinals and if they beat Scotland now they can end top of the pool, and if we manage to beat Italy then it is a realistic option that we’d be paying Japan – or a scary option.”
South Africa have two remaining Pool matches – Friday’s showdown against Italy as well as a clash with Canada.
Having lost their opening match to New Zealand, they look set to finish second in Pool B, setting up a quarterfinal with whoever tops Pool A.
Japan impress in handling the Rugby World Cup
The host nation has impressed, not only in the field of play, but also in the manner the tournament has been handled.
“Japan can be proud of the way you have hosted the World Cup. I think you can be proud of the way your stadiums look; the facilities; the way you have supported us at training sessions and at the matches. But you can also be really proud of your team. “
The match between the Springboks and Italy kicks off at 11:45 (SAST) on Friday.
Source link : https://www.thesouthafrican.com/sport/rugby-world-cup/springboks-ponder-potential-quarterfinal-showdown-with-japan/
Publish date : 2019-09-29 07:54:24