Springboks vs Japan - Game Preview

Springboks vs Japan - Game Preview

Japan are on a mission to achieve one of the great giant-killing acts in World Cup history by scoring an unlikely victory over the Springboks in Brighton. That’s not going to happen.

Japan’s scrummaging has improved, their skills level is on an upward curve, their defence – based around disciplined organisation and committed low tackling (‘chop’ tackles) – is fierce, and they play a high tempo game. Their coaching team comprising the masterful Eddie Jones, former England captain Steve Borthwick, former France hooker Marc dal Maso, and defence coach Leigh Jones, is exceptionally astute. But there will be no miracle in Brighton on Saturday.

The Springboks flattered only to deceive on their November northern hemisphere tour and in the recent Rugby Championship, but they are far too accomplished and experienced not to beat Japan comfortably. In this first pool game they need to be convincing winners, executing their game-plan accurately to build confidence and momentum for the tougher matches to follow. Dominance at breakdown is key, as is translating territory and possession into points – which they failed to do in the Rugby Championship.

The goal is an 80-minute performance reflecting what has been an endeavour to preparation meticulously for this World Cup.

Key players:
Jean de Villiers is back from injury – we know he is unsurpassed as leader but is he fit enough to be the starting Bok 12? Pat Lambie has at long last been given the 10 jersey. Francois Louw is back from injury and as the only genuine openside in the Bok 31, has a major role to play. Beast Mtawarira, a Springbok stalwart but unconvincing in 2015. For Japan, captain Michael Leitch, so good for the Chiefs, scrumhalf Fumiaki Tanaka, part of the Highlanders Super Rugby triumph, 37 year old lock Hitoshi Ono playing in his third World Cup and 95th Test, and goalkicker Ayumu Goromaru, who has accumulated 653 points in 53 Tests.

The big match-ups:
The front row scrummaging battle: Mtawarira vs Kensuke Hatakeyama, Jannie du Plessis vs Masataka Mikami, and Bismarck du Plessis vs Shota Horie. At outside centre Male Sau up against Bok 2015 rookie sensation Jesse Kriel. At number 8, Hendrik Tui vs Schalk Burger.

Latest News