Japan vs South Africa Reddit : In a country where big is usually considered better, the 5ft 8in and 13-stone Kolbe is sinewy speed and grace, not too dissimilar from the Japanese wingers, Kotaro Matsushima and Kenki Fukuoka, who between them have scored nine of their team’s 13 tries in the World Cup.
A film has been made about the last time South Africa and Japan met at the Rugby World Cup.
Rugby World Cup predictions: quarter-finals, tournament winners, betting odds
Rugby World Cup: commentary mayhem as Japan beat South Africa
Japan vs. South Africa
What: Rugby World Cup quarter-final
When: Sunday 20 October
Where: Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo
UK start time: 11.15am
TV coverage: live on ITV
The Brighton Miracle tells the story of that incredible day in 2015 when the two-time world champions were stunned by the Brave Blossoms in rugby union’s biggest ever upset.
Four years later, can it happen again when they clash in the quarter-final on Sunday at the Tokyo Stadium?
Given the way that the Japanese beat Ireland and Scotland in the pool stage, playing with pace and precision and relentless energy, the answer is “yes”, but only a fool would write off the South Africans.
Forewarned is forearmed and all that. Plus, the Springboks are out for revenge.
“We know that it’s happened, it’s four years later, it’s a new opportunity for us,” said Springbok winger Cheslin Kolbe. “We’ll make sure we’re really well prepared and just implement what the coaches want from us and not have what happened in 2015 at the back of our heads.”
Kolbe came up against Fukuoka – a player he describes as “really powerful and explosive” – when South Africa beat Japan in the bronze medal match in the 2016 Rio Olympics rugby sevens, and the pair are similar not just in terms of pace but the pleasure they take in their rugby.
“I enjoy running with the ball in hand and whenever I do get opportunities, I’ll make sure I keep on having fun,” said Kolbe.