RECAP: Japan v South Africa
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to the World Cup quarterfinal match between hosts Japan and South Africa in Tokyo.
This may just be the biggest occasion in the global showpiece’s history.
No other World Cup match has generated such excitement, not even the 1995 Final in Johannesburg, when the new South Africa became the Rainbow Nation.
After South Africa had won the Final in 1995, a cameraman asked the Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar, what it was like to have the support of 62-thousand South Africans, and the captain said: “David, we did not have the support of 62-thousand South Africans. We had the support of 45-million South Africans.”
On Sunday, Japan will have the support not only of 170-million countrymen, but of almost the whole rugby world.
Rugby has loved the World Cup in Japan, for the enthusiasm with which the Japanese people have embraced it, their participation in matches and the way their team has played.
Prediction: There is a lot of guesswork in this sort of thing and even a head-vs-heart tussle, but we really do believe that, while the Springboks will not find the Brave Blossoms easy grazing, their pack will do what the Scots failed to do and win by 15 points or more.
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Japan: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Koo Ji-won, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Lomano Lava Lemeki.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)