Boks can move on from Brighton disaster as focus turns to RWC 2019
South Africa’s emphatic 41-7 win over Japan just two weeks before the start of Rugby World Cup 2019 in that country has ended talk of Brighton 2015.
At the World Cup four years ago Japan famously beat the Springboks 34-32 and ever since that result has haunted the Boks.
Friday’s win in Kumagaya can never change the Brighton result but at least it will stop continuous references to it with the tournament just two weeks away.
“I don’t get upset if they ask us about 2015; Japan should be proud of that result but it’s why we wanted to win this match and now hopefully we see them in the playoffs if we progress‚” Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said.
The Boks’ decisive win was a result of clever game management and clinical finishing from turnover in the hot and humid conditions.
Wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored five tries between them with scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies adding another while the forwards edged the tight battle.
If anything there was a sense the Boks played well within themselves as they looked to use contestable kicks as their major attacking weapon.
“There are some tired players in the changeroom and some tired bodies but we haven’t got a lot of injuries and it has put us on the right track for the Rugby World Cup‚” Erasmus said.
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“Japan pushed us hard right to the end. At half time we were leading 22-0 but they scored that try after Frans Steyn had that pass go loose and that gave them hope. They are a dangerous team and really challenged us.
“I really believe that if we progress from our pool there’s a chance we may meet them again.
“But the game went pretty much as we wanted it to. We put up a lot of contestable kicks because they have not faced that much‚ and we wanted to see how they handled that.
“We scored four tries from contestable kick turnover so we’re happy how that turned out.”
Mapimpi was the major beneficiary of clinical work by the forwards‚ scoring a hattrick with two of his tries simple run-ins after the hard work was done on the inside.
The forwards had the upper hand but were not overly dominant while captain Siya Kolisi came through a good 66 minutes‚ which included a good steal under his posts.
It was tough‚ but ultimately comfortable for the Boks‚ which is all Erasmus could ask for with the All Blacks looming in Yokohama on September 21.