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|65||F. D. Klerk|
The Brave Blossoms at home are looking to create history in their first ever Rugby World Cup quarter-finals appearance against the Springboks of South Africa. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the game from 9:15pm (AEDT).
Japan unexpectedly topped their group after an undefeated run in the group stage, recording upset victories over traditional rugby nations Ireland and Scotland.
South Africa – picked by many at the start of the tournament as eventual champions – came second in Pool B after a first up 23-13 loss to fellow tournament favourites New Zealand.
However, they’ve since recorded convincing victories over Namibia, Italy and Canada, conceding just one try in these three games. They enter the knock-out stage in some seriously hot form.
Japan last played the Springboks in a pre-tournament friendly which they lost 41-7. However, they’ll be hoping that the magnitude of the occasion can inspire a performance more like the Brighton Boilover 4 years ago, in which Japan recorded what was then the biggest upset in World Cup history (and arguably still is) against South Africa, defeating them 34-32 with a try after the full time siren.
What the Brave Blossoms have achieved at this World Cup already is absolutely humungous – rugby in Japan clearly has a very bright future and will only go from strength to strength after this tournament is over.
But their fairy-tale run must come to an end eventually, and I’m predicting the Springboks will be the ones to do it.
South Africa will be extremely motivated after what happened at the last World Cup. They will be ready to go, and I don’t think Japan will get near them.
South Africa by 21
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 9:15pm (AEDT).
Where: Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo
When: 9:15pm (AEDT)
TV: Channel 10, Fox Sports
Streaming: Kayo Sports
Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Kenki Fukuoka, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch (capt.), James Moore, Luke Thompson, Jiwon Koo, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki
Replacements: Atsushi Sakate, Isileli Nakajima, Asaeli Ai Valu, Wimpie van der Walt, Amanaki Lelei Mafi, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Lomano Lava Lemeki.
Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Loedwyk De Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Malcom Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, rancois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn.