Japan vs South Africa Reddit : Rugby World Cup power rankings: breaking down all 20 teams in Japan
There has been a lot of talk about high tackles this tournament. I’ve also talked incessantly over the past few years about the abhorrence the breakdown has become. Scotland lost one of their own, Hamish Watson, as a result of one of those careless and illegal clear‑outs in the pool matches and he was missed last weekend.
In Yokohama there were hardly any high shots and very few horizontal Japanese players off their feet at rucks. Why? Because of their alignment in their structures and their application to working hard at their basics. If you are collectively quick of thought, and clearly know your roles, you can react quicker, better and more skilfully. Watch the Japanese first phase – they were so good that they didn’t need to use blunt force to clear a defender because they got to the ruck so quickly and the ball was gone so rapidly.
Also expect the South Africans to put boot to ball a lot; the Japanese wingers are electric but what are they like fielding a high ball with several South Africans steaming after them?
Pace versus power
The intentions of South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus are evident in the fact he’s named six forwards on the bench, including two second-rows.
“If you’ve watched the way we’ve played through the World Cup, you will see the way we are going to play,” said South Africa assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot.
The World Cup hosts have already surpassed expectations by topping Pool A, notching up wins over Six Nations giants Ireland and Scotland, as well as Samoa and Russia.
Now the Japanese public want more, and are easily reminded of the Brave Blossoms’ pool victory over the Springboks at the 2015 World Cup, one of the sport’s biggest ever upsets.
“No we won’t be drawing on that at all,” was Japan coach Jamie Joseph’s blunt assessment when asked whether that win four years ago, when just four of today’s side started, was a motivating factor for the match at Tokyo Stadium.
Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Japan v South Africa
Venue: Tokyo Stadium Date: Sunday, 20 October Kick-off: 11:15 BST
While the Springboks have picked a powerful pack and six forward replacements, Joseph believes his team’s tactics are not so obvious.
“It is clear what South Africa are going to do,” he said.
“What is not so clear is what we are going to do; that is what I am looking forward to.”
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Ryohei Yamanaka’s inclusion at full-back in place of William Tupou is the only change to the starting XV that beat Scotland in their final Pool A game last weekend.