Player ratings: Wake-up call
OPINION: World Cup hosts Japan were given a timely reminder that raw emotion alone won’t guarantee them success.
Hyped up as another great occasion for the Brave Blossoms, they were brought down to earth – as South Africa beat them 41-7 in Kumagaya on Friday.
Replays of their last encounter – which finished 34-32 in Japan’s favour in Brighton four years ago – were played in the Boks’ hotel foyer this week, before the Boks exacted their six tries to one revenge.
Jan de Koning rates the Japanese players!
15 William Tupou:
Struggled to cope with the bombardment of high balls, but managed a couple of decent runs – managing 76 metres in his nine dashes.
14 Kotaro Matsushima:
Not many opportunities and attack and was exposed by Makazola Mapimpi on more than one occasion. Showed his pace when he eventually received the ball in open space.
13 Timothy Lafaele:
Struggled to breach the Boks’ defensive line – managing just 14 metres in nine runs – and was also quiet on defence.
12 Ryoto Nakamura:
Played of a distribution role, missed as many tackles as he made and conceded a couple of turnovers.
11 Kenki Fukuoka:
His game lasted just four minutes, before he limped off with an injury.
10 Yu Tamura:
Had one decent break, but otherwise just shuffled the ball sideways. Missed twice as many tackles as he made and conceded a couple of turnovers.
9 Kaito Shigeno:
Struggled to cope with the energetic nature of Francois de Klerk’s game.
8 Amanaki Mafi:
Looked strong with ball in hand, but found the Bok defensive wall near-impenetrable – left the field early in the second half.
7 Pieter Labuschagne:
Energetic, but struggled to make a real impact. Had one decent run and managed just 56 metres from his 10 runs. The most productive defender in the Japan team, 14 tackles.
6 Michael Leitch (captain):
Was involved all over the field – working at breakdowns and carrying on the wing. But he was quiet on defence.
5 Uwe Helu:
Quiet day at the office – making just six metres in his nine runs, making just three tackles and conceding a turnover.
4 Luke Thompson:
Apart from Labuschagne, Japan’s most productive player – nine carries and 11 tackles.
3 Koo Ji-won:
Solid in the scrums and made a handful of carries. Otherwise quiet.
2 Atsushi Sakate:
Did the basics well and worked hard on defence, making nine tackles.
1 Keita Inagaki:
Another player that needs to improve his workrate outside the set pieces.
16 Takuya Kitade (on for Sakate, 71st minute):
Not enough time to be rated.
17 Isileli Nakajima (on for Inagaki, 60th minute):
Made no real impact and seemed to just plod along, making a couple of tackles and a few carries.
18 Asaeli Ai Valu (on for Koo, 41st minute):
Made just five metres in his five carries, made one tackle, missed a tackle and conceded a turnover.
19 James Moore (on for Helu, 41st minute):
One of the more productive replacements – a handful of carries and four tackles, without missing one).
20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga (on for Mafi, 45th minute):
Was strong with the ball in hand, but conceded a couple of turnovers.
21 Yutaka Nagare (on for Shigeno, 53rd minute):
Just a link behind the scrum, not even making a tackle.
22 Rikiya Matsuda (on for Moeakiola, 66th minute):
Not enough time to be rated.
23 Ataata Moeakiola (on for Fukuoka, 4th minute).
Had a few decent runs, with 59 metres from his 13 runs. But three turnovers cost his team