Boks fire in second half to sink Japan

The Springboks produced a dominant second-half performance to down a resilient Japanese outfit 26-3 in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Tokyo on Sunday.

It was a thrilling first half and the opening quarter set the tone as Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi touched down before the Brave Blossoms hit back via the accurate kicking of Yu Tamura.

The match continued at a frenetic pace but both defences held out until early in the second period when Handre Pollard added two penalties.

Pollard then scored a third off the tee before Faf de Klerk crossed the whitewash for the game-decisive try as they ended Japan’s remarkable tournament.

Mapimpi then went over for his second as Rassie Erasmus’ men completed a fine performance and eased their way into the last-four.

It is one thing dealing with the forward strength of Ireland and Scotland but another the sheer power of the Springboks and Erasmus’ charges were simply too strong in the tight exchanges.

The scrum, which has been a strength over the past year, laid a stable platform early on and De Klerk gave Mapimpi a one-on-one opportunity. With just Yu Tamura to beat, the wing charged through the fly-half’s abysmal attempt at a tackle and touched down for an early 5-0 advantage.

South Africa were unsurprisingly physical in contact but Tendai Mtawarira was perhaps too pumped up and was subsequently sin-binned for a tip-tackle on Keita Inagaki. The prop’s absence gave the Japanese an opportunity to weave their magic and Kenki Fukuoka brilliantly stood up Cheslin Kolbe, running deep into opposition territory.

Although that move eventually broke down, they were rewarded for their endeavour by Tamura, who reduced the arrears from the tee.

Following that score, Japan continued to move the ball and stress the Springbok rearguard but their defence remained stout, giving them them a two-point heading into the latter stages of the half.

The South Africans were under pressure but they began to reassert their authority. Erasmus’ men were dominant at the set-piece and, although Damian de Allende was denied a try at the end of the first period, they kept their foot on the Japanese throat.

Their scrum was giving them plenty of purchase and successive three-pointers from Pollard opened the gap to beyond a converted try.

Surprisingly, the pivot was target with a third attempt, but did not make the same mistake as the game reached the final quarter.

South Africa were in control and they started to bully their opponents. The maul was hugely impressive and, after a drive had gone 30 metres, Malcolm Marx pealed off the back and fed De Klerk to break Japanese hearts..

Japan had run out of ideas and, following yet another turnover, Willie le Roux fed flyer Mapimpi, who sped down the left and touched down as the Springboks deservedly qualified for the semi-finals.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Pen: Tamura

For South Africa:
Tries: Mapimpi 2, De Klerk
Con: Pollard
Pens: Pollard 3
Yellow Card: Mtawarira

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 (c), 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Jiwon Koo, 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 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG 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)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

Wales come from behind to edge 14-man France

Wales will play either Japan or South Africa in the World Cup semi-finals after securing a nailbiting 20-19 victory over France in Oita on Sunday.

In a drama-filled match, Les Bleus held the upper hand for most of the 80 minutes despite playing with 14 men for the last half hour after Sebastien Vahaamahina was red carded for foul play, with only a late converted try from Ross Moriarty coming to Wales' rescue.

Aaron Wainwright also scored a try for Wales and Dan Biggar finished with a 10-point haul after succeeding with two conversions and a couple of penalties.

For France, Vahaamahina, Charles Ollivon and Virimi Vakatawa crossed the whitewash and Emile Ntamack kicked two conversions.

The match started at a frenetic pace with both sides giving the ball plenty of air and that strategy initially worked in France’s favour as they scored two early tries in quick succession.

In the fifth minute, Les Bleus were camped close to Wales’ try-line and Vahaamahina bounced off two would-be tacklers before diving over for his first-ever Test try.

Ntamack’s conversion attempt struck an upright but France came back strongly from the restart and were soon on the attack again. And in the ninth minute that tactic reaped reward for France when Ollivon crossed for a brilliant try. This, after Vakatawa made a superb line break inside his half before offloading to Ntamack, who got a pass out to Antoine Dupont. The scrum-half did well to draw in the last defender before getting a pass out to Ollivon, who showed the cover defence a clean pair of heels before scoring under the posts.

The conversion from Ntamack meant Les Bleus were leading 12-0 after 10 minutes but shortly afterwards Guilhem Guirado lost the ball in contact 10 metres inside his half and Wainwright gathered the loose ball before racing away to score his first five-pointer for Wales.

Although that try came against the run of play, it came at the right time for Wales as they held the upper hand for the next 10 minutes and Biggar narrowed the gap to two points when he slotted a penalty midway through the half.

In the 28th minute, Ross Moriarty came on as an injury replacement for Josh Navidi but shortly after he came on he was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Gael Fickou.

With a numerical advantage, Les Bleus regained the initiative and on the hour-mark Damian Penaud joined a backline attack just outside France’s 22 before offloading to Vakatawa, who crossed for his side’s third try, despite a desperate tackle from Wyn Jones.

Ntamack added the extras which meant France were leading 19-10 as the teams changed sides at the interval.

The second half started more cautiously but France were dealt a massive blow when Vahaamahina received his marching orders for elbowing Wainwright in his face at a maul in the 49th minute.

Five minutes later Biggar reduced the deficit to six points when he added his second penalty after Fickou infringed at a ruck.

The next 20 minutes was an arm wrestle as Wales went in search of the win but France did well to stay in the game and even had chances to to extend their lead when they were on the attack inside Wales’ 22. But handling errors and resilient defence from Wales meant they had nothing to show for their efforts.

In the 74th minute, Wales’ forwards put great pressure on a French scrum close to Les Bleus’ try-line and Tomos Williams did brilliantly to rip the ball from Baptiste Serin’s arms and Justin Tipuric collected it. He was tackled just short of the line before Moriarty gathered at the ensuing ruck and burrowed his way over the whitewash.

Biggar slotted the conversion to give his side a 20-19 lead and although France tried desperately to strike back during the game’s closing stages, Wales finished stronger and held on for the win which secured their place in the semi-finals.

For Wales:
Tries: Wainwright, Moriarty
Cons: Biggar 2
Pens: Biggar 2
Yellow Card: Moriarty

For France:
Tries: Vahaamahina, Ollivon, Vakatawa
Cons: Ntamack 2
Red Card: Vahaamahina

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Leigh Halfpenny

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Vincent Rattez

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Jones full of praise for England’s 'Samurai' spirit

England coach Eddie Jones lauded the "Samurai" spirit of his players after Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Australia in Oita.

The 40-16 triumph was secured by four tries, including a double for wing Jonny May on his 50th cap, and 20 points from captain Owen Farrell.

The dominant display underlined England’s pedigree as possible World Cup winners, though holders New Zealand await them in the semis next weekend.

“It was a do-or-die game today,” Jones told Press Association Sport.

“And the best Samurai were always the guys who had a plan but could adapt, had a calm head but were full of aggression, and I thought we were like that today.

“The challenge is how we get better, because there is always a better Samurai around the corner.

“We want to keep challenging ourselves. How do we get better next week?”

England led only 17-16 early in the second-half, before scoring 23 unanswered points and leaving their opponents searching for answers.

Prop Kyle Sinckler and wing Anthony Watson followed May over the Wallabies try-line in one of England’s most efficient performances under Jones.

“He (Sinckler) found himself in an advanced attacking position (for his try) and got a great pass from Owen (Farrell) and then he was a runaway rhino,” added Jones.

“I’m really impressed by how hard he is working at improving his game.

“I thought (flankers) Tom Curry and Sam Underhill did very well, and the young fella Lewis Ludlam when he went on.

“The effort from Billy Vunipola was outstanding, absolutely outstanding. Maybe it helped having his wife here, so we have to make sure his wife stays next week!”

And on May, he said: “It is a great achievement to play 50 times for your country. There is probably not a more professional player than him.

“He showed what a good finisher he is. He just had a little bit of a twinge at the end, so we took him off, but he should be fine.”

Cheika steps down as Wallabies coach

Michael Cheika has confirmed he won’t seek re-appointment as Wallabies coach after Australia’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat against England in Oita on Saturday.

Cheika had previously said he would quit unless the Wallabies won the World Cup, and even though he objected to questions about his future immediately post-match, he ultimately revealed that was the reason he was stepping down.

“I got asked the question in the press conference, you would’ve been there and listening, about what’s going to happen going forward and at the time I wasn’t keen to answer but I always knew the answer in my head, I just wanted to speak to my wife and tell a few people up there about it,” he said.

“I put my chips in earlier in the year I told people no win, no play.

“So, I’m the type of man who always going to back what he says and I knew from the final whistle but I just wanted to give it that little bit time to cool down, talk to my people and then make it clear.”

Todd set to miss England semi-final

New Zealand openside flanker Matt Todd is set to miss next weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against England due to a shoulder injury.

Todd came on as second half replacement during the All Blacks’ 46-14 quarter-final triumph over Ireland at the start of the second half and finished the match in the sin bin after conceding a penalty try during that game’s closing stages.

The 31-year-old’s injury is an old one as it ruled him out of his country’s first pool match against South Africa last month and All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen confirmed on Sunday that he has injured his shoulder again.

“Matt Todd has hurt that shoulder again, so we’ll have to see how he goes,” he said. “It’s probably unlikely he’s going to be available.

“He dislocated it a wee while ago but got a bang on it yesterday, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Hansen also revealed that Sam Cane did not sustain an injury – after he was replaced by Todd at half-time against Ireland – and confirmed that his substitution was a tactical move.

All Blacks batter Ireland to set up England semi-final

New Zealand set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with England at the Rugby World Cup after romping to a 46-14 win over Ireland in Tokyo on Saturday.

There was plenty of hype around this fixture due to Ireland winning two of the last three matches between these sides but, as the scoreline suggests, this encounter was all about the All Blacks, who were dominant throughout the one-sided contest.

In the end, the world champions outscored their opponents by seven tries to two with Aaron Smith (2), Beauden Barrett, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett all dotting down and Richie Mo’unga adding 11 points after slotting four conversions and a penalty.

There was little positive to report for Ireland, who delivered an error-strewn performance and seldom really threatened. Their points came via a Robbie Henshaw five-pointer which was converted by Joey Carbery, while they were also awarded a penalty try late in the game.

The All Blacks came out firing from the kick off and raced into a 10-0 lead inside 15 minutes after having a bulk of the possession and they also dominated the territorial stakes.

They opened scoring as early as the sixth minute courtesy of a penalty from Mo’unga and continued to dominate as the half progressed and there was great interplay between their forwards and backs.

In the 14th minute, their pack set up a good platform deep inside Ireland territory with pick-up-and goes – with Kieran Read, Joe Moody, Sam Whitelock and Sam Cane – prominent. Smith then made a sniping break through the middle of a ruck close to Ireland’s try-line before diving over for the opening try.

The world champions made full use of the point-scoring opportunities presented to them and extended their lead in the 20th minute when their inside backs did brilliantly to create space for Sevu Reece, who joined the line at pace, which created an overlap. He offloaded to Bridge, who was stopped close to the try-line and from the ensuing ruck Smith, once again, barged over the whitewash from close quarters.

Mo’unga was successful with both conversions which meant the All Blacks were leading 17-0 and in the 32nd minute later things went from bad to worse for Ireland when Beauden Barrett crossed for their third try.

Ireland were initially on the attack close to the halfway line but aggressive defence from Reece saw Sexton spilling the ball which was booted ahead by Anton Lienert-Brown. Barrett then kicked ahead before collecting the ball on his way over the try-line and although referee Nigel Owens checked with his TMO to see if Lienert-Brown had played the ball from an offside position, television replays showed that Reece did not touch the ball after his hit on Sexton and the try was awarded.

Although Mo’unga was off target with the conversion attempt, New Zealand went into the half-time break holding a commanding 22-0 lead.

If Ireland wanted to stay alive in this contest they had to score first after the break but that wasn’t to be as the All Blacks continued with their dominance after the interval.

And in the 48th minute they went further ahead when Read ran a superb angle to gather a pass from Smith deep inside Ireland’s half but although his progress was halted close to his opponents’ try-line, the All Blacks skipper managed to free his arms before offloading to Taylor, who crashed over under the posts.

Ireland seemed shell-shocked by the intensity of the All Blacks’ onslaught but although they tried desperately to fight back, they continued to commit numerous unforced errors.

The All Blacks did not take their foot off the pedal, however, and in the 61st minute Todd crossed for their fifth try after the ball went through several pairs of hands in the build-up.

Although New Zealand had the game sewn up by then, Ireland did not surrender and opened their account in the 69th minute courtesy of a try from Henshaw after collecting a pass from CJ Stander, who set up the score after breaking off the back of a scrum on New Zealand’s five-metre line.

The world champions struck back with Bridge’s try, after Ardie Savea and Dane Coles did well in the build-up. Although Ireland were awarded a penalty try shortly afterwards when Todd prevented Stander from scoring at close quarters, the world champions sealed their win and semi-finals berth when Jordie Barrett scored their seventh try in the game’s dying moments.

For New Zealand:
Tries: Smith 2, B Barrett, Taylor, Todd, Bridge, J Barrett
Cons: Mo’unga 4
Pen: Mo’unga
Yellow Card: Todd

For Ireland:
Tries: Henshaw, Penalty try
Con: Carbery

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Angus Gardner (Australia)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

England power into World Cup semi-finals with thumping Australia win

England claimed a comprehensive 40-16 win over Australia in Oita on Saturday to become the first team to reach the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

As expected, this was an entertaining spectacle with both sides going at each other hammer and tongs for the full 80 minutes but, in the end, England’s class shone through with their forwards laying a superb platform for their win.

England captain Owen Farrell led the way with a faultless goal-kicking display as he finished with a 20-point haul courtesy of four penalties and four conversions. Their other points came courtesy of a brace of tries from Jonny May and further five-pointers from Kyle Sincler Anthony Watson.

For Australia, Marika Koroibete scored a try which was converted by Christian Lealiifano, who also added three penalties.

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika promised that his side would attack England – in the build-up to this match – and they did just that as they ran the ball from all areas of the field.

Their high-risk approach proved costly, however, as they committed a plethora of unforced errors and battled to break down England’s defence.

Their decision to go for all-out attack gave them an edge early on and they opened the scoring in the 12th minute courtesy of a penalty from Lealiifano after Billy Vunipola infringed at a breakdown.

England were soaking up the pressure and struck back in style in the 18th minute when May crossed for the opening try. This, after the ball went through several pairs of hands inside Australia’s 22 before Tom Curry offloaded to May, who scored in the left-hand corner.

Shortly afterwards, the Wallabies were on the attack inside England’s half but a poor pass from David Pocock was pounced on by Henry Slade, who set off towards his opponents’ try-line. He was hauled in by the cover defence but had the presence of mind to stab a grubber kick through which was gathered by May, who dived over in the same corner for his second try.

Farrell succeeded with both conversions which meant England were leading 14-3 midway through the half before Lealiifano reduced the deficit with his second penalty in the 26th minute.

England were still holding the upper hand, however, and their forwards, in particular, were dominating in contact. And on the half-hour mark, Farrell added a penalty after Lealiifano went off his feet at a ruck just outside England’s 22.

The half’s closing stages were evenly contested but on the stroke half-time Lealiifano slotted his third penalty after Sinckler was blown up for illegal scrummaging which meant England were leading 17-9 at the interval.

The Wallabies hit the ground running after the break and three minutes into the new half Jordan Petaia found himself in space just inside England’s half after gathering a long pass from Reece Hodge. Petaia did well to throw an inside pass to Koroibete, who showed his class as he rounded Elliot Daly with ease before crossing for a deserved try.

Lealiifano added the extras and the Wallabies had their tails up as they were trailing by just one point on the scoreboard.

But, once again, England did not panic and shortly afterwards Farrell threw a superb flat pass which Sinckler gathered on the edge of Australia’s 22 and the burly prop glided through a gaping hole in the Wallabies’ defence before crashing over for his side’s third try.

Farrell was successful with the conversion attempt and also slotted a penalty in the 51st minute which gave his side some breathing space with the score 27-16 in their favour.

The Wallabies upped the ante on the attack in a bid to narrow the gap but despite several forays into England’s defence over the next 10 minutes, they could not breach England’s defence.

After seeing off that period, England were soon camped inside Australia’s half and were up 33-16 by the the 73rd minute courtesy of two further penalties from Farrell.

With such a huge deficit and time running out on the clock, Australia became desperate and launched several waves of attack from deep inside their half. In the 76th minute, that tactic backfired when Watson intercepted a wayward pass from Kurtley Beale on the edge of the Wallabies’ 22 and raced away to score the try which booked his side’s place in the semi-finals.

For England:
Tries: May 2, Sinckler, Watson
Cons: Farrell 4
Pens: Farrell 4

For Australia:
Try: Koroibete
Con: Lealiifano
Pens: Lealiifano 3

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 David Pocock, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 James O’Connor

De Bruin joins Southern Kings backroom staff

The Southern Kings have announced that Swys de Bruin has joined their backroom staff as a coaching consultant.

De Bruin is a widely sought-after rugby brain and comes with a wealth of coaching experience having recently been the attack coach of the Springboks team as well as head coach of the Lions from 2017 until he parted ways with the Johannesburg-based franchise last week.

He has also previously coached the Sharks, Griquas and the South Africa U21 team.

The 59-year-old officially started in his new role on Friday ahead of the Southern Kings’ tour to Europe. He will be working closely with the coaching team of Robbi Kempson, Vuyo Zangqa and Braam van Straaten.

“We are excited to have Swys de Bruin joining the Isuzu Southern Kings as a coaching consultant,” said Southern Kings chairman Loyiso Dotwana.

“Swys is one of the most respected and sought-after coaches in South Africa. His vast knowledge of the game and international experience will be of great value to our team.

“We are also confident that his input and contribution will be beneficial to our coaching team and the playing personnel.

“Swys’ philosophy is known to be that of producing attractive rugby which is in line with what we are set on achieving at the Isuzu Southern Kings.”

Brunel: Wales deserve to be favourites

France head coach Jacques Brunel has no complaints over Wales being made favourites for Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final between the two Six Nations powerhouses.

Les Bleus have only toppled Wales once from eight attempts since beating them 9-8 in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals.

Although many of the subsequent games have been close affairs, France consistently came out on the wrong side.

“Wales’ confidence is higher than ours, that’s obvious,” Brunel told Press Association Sport.

“They have been consistent for a few seasons. That is undeniable.

“They’re the favourites, we are in the role of the underdog. That is logical, normal, but it doesn’t stop us believing in our chances.”

France have been boosted by the return to fitness of scrum-half Antoine Dupont and wing Damien Penaud, but they will encounter a Wales team who have won 19 of their last 22 Tests.

“They (Wales) are not going to change their strategy,” Brunel added.

“They are going to rely on a very strong defensive screen, quality individuals, their ability to put the opposition under pressure.

“It is the same XV that played against Australia (last month). In the first seven minutes, they suffocated Australia and perhaps won the match there.

“They are capable of imposing that, but by contrast, we saw in their recent matches that there were opportunities. We have the ability to trouble them.

“Twelve teams have gone home, and some weren’t expecting to. We are there, still involved, preparing for a match.

“To keep going, we will need a lot of courage, enthusiasm, determination, and drive in everything we do. I hope we will be able to show the face we want to during the 80 minutes.”

Kolisi: We know this is not just another game

As the countdown begins in earnest to Sunday’s must-win quarter-final, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says his team has embraced the mental challenge that awaits.

Kolisi, Handré Pollard (flyhalf) and Mzwandile Stick (assistant coach) attended a media conference following a reduced captain’s run at the Tokyo Stadium on Friday, which was attended by only the kickers.

The field will be in use for the New Zealand v Ireland quarter-final, which will be underway when the Boks’ captain’s run would normally take place. SA’s captain’s run takes place on Saturday at their training ground.

“We’ve prepared as hard as always,” said Kolisi.

“It has been do-or-die for us since the first game so we have been in that mindset for a couple of weeks now. This is not like any other Test match – it’s play-off time at the World Cup and we have prepared mentally for it.

“Each of us will have different ways of doing that and the coaches haven’t put us under pressure mentally – we have prepared as a normal Test match week – but we know as players what we need to do and what needs to be done.

“I don’t think anyone needs to tell us that this is a big game. We know as players how big this is and if you don’t then you probably shouldn’t be here.”

Pollard was reminded that he had been a member of the team that lost to Japan in the previous World Cup and it is not an emotion he wants to repeat.

“That was very tough to handle,” the Bok flyhalf said.

“That stuck with us until the game we played here. It’s something you never want to live through again. But four years ago was a completely different story; different South Africa side; different World Cup; different players.

“A lot has happened in the meantime. But us as a group who were part of that match don’t want to repeat those mistakes – hopefully we can show that during this play-off series. It’s not a focus for us, we’re just focusing on the match and playing our best rugby on Sunday and winning.”

What South Africa know best produced a 41-7 victory over Japan in Kumagaya six weeks ago and Stick said he saw no reason to deviate from that pattern: “Both teams have improved quite a lot from that game but we are sticking to what we know best and nothing has changed from what we have been doing,” he said.

“The Japanese side play at a high tempo; have skillful players and you can see that they are well-drilled when it comes to coaching.

“They play what we call ‘champagne rugby’. If on the day it goes to hands, they can punish you. We have to make sure we are switched on and make sure we are organised.

“But if you look at our squad, we have got players from 1 to 23 that are really doing really, really well and most of the games we have played so far we have finished on a high note. That’s something we’d like to take forward into the quarterfinals on Sunday.”

Toomua surprised by George Ford bench call

Australia fly-half Matt Toomua admitted he was surprised to see England drop playmaker George Ford from their team ahead of Saturday.

Toomua’s former Leicester team-mate is shifted to bench duty for the World Cup quarter-final clash as Owen Farrell moves in to number 10.

Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade will wear shirts 12 and 13 respectively and when asked about the decision, Toomua admitted it was a shock.

“A little bit, yeah,” he told Press Association Sport ahead of the game in Oita.

“Both teams have decided to have the Leicester 10s come on in the second-half, but yeah, a little bit (surprised).

“He has been brilliant the last couple of years. But teams nowadays really are using that 23 (match-day squad) mentality, particularly at the World Cup.

“We just spoke about it before in terms of the finishers, and the role they play. You are probably talking 20 or 30 minutes now, which is a good chunk of the game, and the game is often in the balance at that time.

“You can assume that George will come on and pick the pace.

“Go back to 2016, I think George started off the bench in Brisbane (against Australia), and when he came on it completely changed. I think that was after 30 minutes.

“They have the ability to play quite a few ways and I am sure George coming off the bench will lift the pace.”

Toomua was in good spirits on Thursday and jokingly lifted the lid on his time at Leicester and being around so many of the current England squad.

“I know all their weaknesses, luckily, and I have been telling everyone,” he added, tongue-in-cheek. “I will list them now for you if you want.

“Manu (Tuilagi) is a terrible snooker player, George Ford never pays for a beer, Ben Youngs isn’t even the best rugby player in his family, let alone the country. The chicken, Jonny May – very weird – and Dan Cole doesn’t have a personality.

“No, look, we obviously had a very good relationship with a lot of the fellas there, and one thing I do know is that they are all quality players.

“Anyone like him (Tuilagi) you have to shut down time and space, obviously. But as I said, you can’t focus too much.

“A guy like Henry Slade, I can’t see a weakness in his game. He is a strong runner, passer, kicker and he has the left foot as well.

“Obviously, Manu is a name that sticks out for a lot of reasons. He is a strong carrier and makes a lot of big plays.

“But it is probably trying to shut down his time and space. He is at 12 now, so he is a bit closer to the play so it might be a little easier in that sense.

“However, I am sure they are working out ways to give him some ball one-on-one at full steam.”

 

France backline duo declared fit for Wales clash

France have been given a welcome boost with the news that both Damian Penaud and Antoine Dupont are fit to start against Wales in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Both were minor doubts ahead of the game in Oita but have been cleared to face an in-form Welsh side in Sunday’s opening last-eight clash.

Dupont shakes off a back injury and will line up alongside his Toulouse teammate Romain Ntamack while Penaud is named on the right wing.

Scrum-half Dupont took limited part in training this week but has been declared fit to play in place of Baptiste Serin. His last start was against Argentina in France’s opening game, although he did come off the bench to play the last 27 minutes of the win over Tonga.

Les Bleus head coach Jacques Brunel has made five changes in all from the line-up that defeated Tonga almost two weeks ago.

Yoann Huget comes in on the left wing in place of Alivereti Raka, who falls out of the matchday squad altogether, as does centre Sofiane Guitoune, who makes way for Gael Fickou. One surprise on their replacements bench sees the recently called up Vincent Rattez preferred ahead of the dropped pair.

Up front, captain Guilhem Guirado makes his first start since the Argentina game, Camille Chat moving to the bench after starting against the USA and Tonga.

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Vincent Rattez

Date: Sunday, October 20
Venue: Oita Stadium
Kick-off: 16:15 local (09:15 SA time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Wales name full-strength side for France clash

Wales haven't made any changes to the starting XV that beat Australia in their Pool D clash for Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France.

Warren Gatland’s men finished top of their pool with four wins from four and have returned to Oita for this weekend’s mouth-watering game.

Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis once again comprise the front-row.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones, who packs down alongside Jake Ball in the second-row, will move third on the all-time international appearance list on Sunday, level with Brian O’Driscoll on 141 Tests (132 for Wales plus nine British & Irish Lions appearances).

Aaron Wainwright, who has featured in every game for Wales at Japan 2019, lines up at six alongside Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi.

Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar are named at half-back with Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies partnering in midfield.

The tournament’s joint-top try-scorer Josh Adams lines up in the back three alongside George North and Liam Williams.

On the bench Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre and Dillon Lewis provide the front-row cover with Adam Beard and Ross Moriarty completing the forward contingent. Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell and Owen Watkin provide the backline cover.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin

Date: Sunday, October 20
Venue: Oita Stadium
Kick-off: 16:15 local (09:15 SA time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Japan make one change for Springbok quarterfinal

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph has made one enforced change to his starting line-up that will face South Africa in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.

Joseph sticks largely to his winning big-game formula for their first-ever World Cup last-eight match, which takes place in Tokyo on Sunday.

Ryohei Yamanaka, who started against Ireland but was on the bench for the last match against Scotland, runs out at full-back in place of William Tupou, who drops out of the 23.

Second-row Wimpie van der Walt and winger Lomano Lemeki return to the bench alongside number eight Amanaki Lelei Mafi, who is available for the first time since coming off injured against Ireland. Second-row Uwe Helu and flanker Hendrik Tui miss out.

Prop Jiwon Koo starts at tighthead after coming off with a rib injury in the first half against Scotland.

“We’ve achieved the last eight but what we do from here is also important,” said number eight Kazuki Himeno.

“I was thinking of urging my team-mates to shift focus as one of the leaders in the team, but there wasn’t even the need for that. They’re all fired up for the South Africa game.”

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 (c), 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Jiwon Koo, 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

Date: Sunday, October 20
Venue: Tokyo Stadium
Kick-off: 19:15 local (12:15 SA time)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Luke Pearce (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

Sexton, Murray to make history against All Blacks

Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray will make history when they become Ireland’s most capped half-back duo on Saturday in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash with New Zealand.

Overtaking Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer, they are paired together for their 56th international game in the clash at Tokyo Stadium.

Murray and Sexton first lined out together in Ireland’s opening game of the Rugby World Cup 2011 against the USA and on Saturday play inside Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose. Rob Kearney returns to the line-up at full-back with Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls starting the wings.

Rory Best will lead the team in his 124th appearance in green. Cian Healy, winning his 95th cap, and Tadhg Furlong pack down on either side of the captain.

Iain Henderson and James Ryan are paired in the second-row with Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander in the back-row.

Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne and Andrew Porter are the front-row replacements with Tadhg Beirne and Rhys Ruddock covering second-row and back-row.

Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery and last week’s man of the match Jordan Larmour are the back-line replacements.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

Date: Saturday, October 19
Venue: Tokyo Stadium
Kick-off: 19:15 local (11:15 BST, 10:15 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Retallick returns to starting XV for do-or-die Ireland clash

Brodie Retallick has made his return to the All Blacks' starting XV for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash with Ireland in Tokyo on Saturday.

Retallick has only played around 30 minutes at the tournament – in the Round Three encounter against Namibia – since dislocating his shoulder in a Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in late July.

He will pack down in the second-row alongside Sam Whitelock while Scott Barrett starts on the replacements bench.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has also opted to retain the midfield combination of Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue while Sonny Bill Williams will provide cover from the bench.

Elsewhere, Beauden Barrett returns at full-back and starts alongside wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece in the back three while Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith are the half-backs.

Kieran Read leads the team from number eight with Sam Cane and Ardie Savea starting on the flanks.

In the front-row, Codie Taylor is preferred to Dane Coles at hooker while Nepo Laulala and Joe Moody are the two props.

Hansen said the team was really looking forward to Saturday’s must-win encounter.

“There’s a lot of energy and excitement in the team which is normal for this stage of the tournament where the winner takes all. It will add extra pressure to both sides,” he said.

“We feel we’ve selected a great mixture of talent in our 23, who are in great form, and the squad includes many players who have a lot of Rugby World Cup knockout match experience. Together with our experienced management team, that brings a deep understanding of what is needed to get the job done.

“Past Rugby World Cup history is important because of the positive or negative experiences you’ve had. But ultimately it is what happens on the day that counts.”

Hansen added that all 31 players had been fit and available for selection, which was an added bonus in this stage of the tournament.

“This is a great reflection on the players themselves and the staff who have done a great job getting them through the Pool Play phase of the tournament. We are very happy where the team is at at this stage and it feels like the team is right where it needs to be for what will be a physical and fiercely-fought encounter.”

Hansen concluded: “On behalf of the team, we’d like to thank all our families and supporters in New Zealand, around the world and here in Japan, particularly those who have made the effort to travel.

“The team has really appreciated the many messages we have received and we look forward to representing you all proudly on Saturday.”

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett

Date: Saturday, October 19
Venue: Tokyo Stadium
Kick-off: 19:15 local (11:15 BST, 10:15 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Petaia to start at outside centre for Wallabies

Jordan Petaia has been handed a shock starting berth at outside centre for Australia in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England.

Petaia plays 13 for the first time in his young Test career in one of a number of changes made by Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika.

Aged 19, he is the first player born this century to start a Rugby World Cup knockout game in a huge show of faith from head coach Cheika.

Petaia teams up with Samu Kerevi in the midfield while Will Genia will pair up with Christian Lealiifano as the half-back duo this weekend.

Reece Hodge returns from suspension and starts on the wing alongside Marika Koroibete, with Kurtley Beale named to start at full-back.

In the forward pack, Allan Alaalatoa is one of two changes made, along with captain Michael Hooper’s return to the XV after being a late withdrawal against Georgia. Alaalatoa takes the spot of Sekope Kepu while Tolu Latu and Scott Sio start alongside him in the front-row.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 David Pocock, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 James O’Connor

Date: Saturday, October 19
Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita
Kick-off: 16:15 local (08:15 BST, 07:15 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Mathieu Raynal (France)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Farrell at 10 for England

Owen Farrell will start at fly-half for England against Australia in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Oita on Saturday.

Farrell is named at number ten with George Ford dropping to the bench while Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade have been selected as the centre pairing.

Jonny May will make his 50th appearance for England on Saturday and is named on the left wing with Anthony Watson on the right. Elliot Daly is selected at full-back.

Billy Vunipola starts at number eight having recovered from injury with Tom Curry and Sam Underhill named as flankers.

Mako Vunipola makes his first start in Japan having played in his first game of the tournament against Argentina from the bench.

Jones said: “Once you get to the quarter-finals it’s about having the right mindset. We know how well we can play, it’s about us playing to our strengths and trying to take away from what Australia want.

“Australia are a clever team, they will have some specific attacking strategies to play against us so we need to have a great situational awareness. We need to defend with brutality and when we have the ball we need play on top of them.”

On May reaching 50 caps for England, Jones added: “It is a great achievement and an honour for him and his family. Everyone in the team is really pleased for him. I think this World Cup has really shown how hard he has worked at his game.

“He has come back from a significant knee injury to be close to the fastest winger, if not the fastest winger in the world, and has the ability to score tries from any situation.”

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Date: Saturday, October 19
Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita
Kick-off: 16:15 local (08:15 BST, 07:15 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Mathieu Raynal (France)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Springboks make 13 changes for Japan quarter-final

The Springboks have reverted to the starting XV and replacements that recorded a 49-3 victory over Italy a fortnight ago for the do-or-die Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Japan in Tokyo on Sunday.

It means 13 changes to the starting XV from the one which concluded the Boks’ pool campaign with a 66-7 demolition of Canada in Kobe last Tuesday.

Only Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende – who switches from outside centre back to the more familiar inside centre position – are retained from the Kobe XV.

They are joined in the line-up by the balance of the starting XV from the seven-try-to-nil overwhelming of Italy in what has become a familiar ‘senior’ line-up.

“We were satisfied with the performance against Italy and want to build on that,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby.

“We have been improving and building momentum this season and we will be looking for further improvements this weekend.

“Japan are a well-coached team and have deservedly climbed to seventh in the world rankings. It’ll be a good challenge but we’re definitely up for it.”

Front rankers Tendai Mtawarira and Bongi Mbonambi, as well as Lood de Jager retain their places in the starting line-up, having been elevated to the XV from the one which lost against New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament.

The starting XV boasts 665 caps – the most in a Springbok team since the 2015 Rugby World Cup – when the squad included three Test centurions in Jean de Villiers, Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana.

“When we set out on this campaign at the start of last season, one of the things we said we wanted to do was broaden and deepen the experience in the squad,” said Erasmus.

“We’re now in a position where everyone in the starting XV has had a proper taste of top-level Test rugby and we’ve got a strong spine of Test experience for these high-pressure matches.

“You need that experience when it comes to handling the pressure situations we will face on Sunday and I think we’ve achieved that now.”

The team to meet Japan contains five players with 50 or more caps in Willie le Roux, Duane Vermeulen (who wins 50th cap as a No 8 – a Springbok record), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth and centurion Mtawarira. There are another four players in the 40s in Kolisi, De Jager, De Allende and Handré Pollard.

Twelve of the starting XV – and 21 of the 23 – were in the team that overcame Japan six-tries-to-one (41-7) in Kumagaya, Japan, six weeks ago. The only absentees are Trevor Nyakane (prop) and Jesse Kriel (centre), who have both been invalided out of the tournament.

De Jager and prop Vincent Koch – who is on the bench – are the only two players who were not in the match 23 for the victory over Japan.

Erasmus again announced a six-two replacement split in favour of the forwards (rather than the traditional five-three), as was successfully deployed against the Azzurri.

“We will look at our replacement strategy on a game-by-game basis and for this opponent on this occasion we believe we’ll need fresh legs among the forwards at some point,” said Erasmus.

“We’re very fortunate in that we have a squad that has a number of highly versatile players among forwards and backs who can slot into a number of positions to cover all eventualities.”

The Springboks are aiming to reach the Rugby World Cup semi-finals for the fifth time in seven appearances while, for Japan, it is their first appearance in the play-off rounds at the ninth attempt.

The winner will play the victor in the France v Wales match in Yokohama on Sunday, 27 October.

South Africa’s quarter-final with Japan kicks off at 12h15 (SA time, 19h15 local) and is available on SuperSport channel 201 and SABC radio.

 

The Springbok team to play Japan in Tokyo on Sunday is:

15. Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), 58 caps - 60 points (12 tries)
14. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), 12 - 35 (7t)
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), 12 - 15 (3t)
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 44 - 25 (5t)
11. Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), 11 - 55 (11t)
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), 45 - 410 (6t, 70c, 76p, 4d)
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), 27 - 15 (3t)
8. Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls), 51 - 15 (3t)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 52 - 25 (5t)
6. Siya Kolisi (captain, DHL Stormers), 47 - 30 (6t)
5. Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls) 42 - 25 (5t)
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 82 - 15 (3t)
3. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 35 - 5 (1t)
2. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 33 - 35 (7t)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 114 - 10 (2t)

Replacements:

16. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 30 - 25 (5t)
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 44 - 5 (1t)
18. Vincent Koch (Saracens, England) 18 - 0
19. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), 20 - 5 (1t)
20. Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), 36 - 5 (1t)
21. Francois Louw (Bath, England), 73 - 50 (10t)
22. Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), 8 - 20 (4t)
23. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 64 - 141 (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)

Kolbe: You can't compare now with 2015

Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe says his side are not feeling the pressure due to their 2015 defeat to Japan ahead of this weekend's quarter-final.

The Brave Blossoms caused the biggest upset in World Cup history four years ago with their ‘Miracle of Brighton’ win over the Springboks.

But it would rank as no surprise to see the hosts repeat that feat when the teams meet again in this year’s quarter-final showdown in Tokyo on Sunday.

Jamie Joseph’s side have already proved their credentials by beating Ireland and Scotland on their way to topping Pool A with four straight wins.

But Toulouse winger Kolbe is confident his side will not be distracted by painful memories.

He said: “If you look at the current World Cup and compare it back to 2015, the rugby has definitely gone a different way.

“It’s not the same style of rugby being played. Teams are very much more technical currently than the previous tournament.

“But knowing we had the loss to Japan in 2015, I wouldn’t say that’s stuck in our head. We know that it happened but this is four years later.

“We’re playing Japan in the quarter-final so we will make sure we’re really well prepared and won’t have what happened in 2015 in the back of our heads.”

Both Ireland and Scotland struggled to contain Japan’s relentless energy in attack.

The pace and ruthlessness of wingers Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima has been key to their success, with the pair contributing nine tries between them so far.

Neither rank among the giants of the game but at 5ft 7ins himself, Kolbe knows it is not always size that counts.

He said: “There is a saying that dynamite comes in small packages.

“I think it all depends on different players. We all have something special to contribute to our various teams.

“Both Japanese wingers are playing really phenomenal rugby.

“I played against Fukuoka at the Rio Olympics. He’s a really good player and is very powerful and explosive.

“I also played against Matsushima back in 2012 when he was playing in the Currie Cup in South Africa. I know he loves to run with the ball and have a lot of freedom.

“But what happens on Sunday will come down to the team that wants it the most.

“Japan are playing some really exciting rugby. They are giving the ball a lot of air and they want to stretch your defence structures.

“That is a style I love to play, but as a team we have our own plan that we will try to implement.”