Rassie Erasmus says the Boks have achieved the objectives they hoped to by arriving early in Japan ahead of the World Cup.
The Springboks will transfer from the south east corner of Japan on Saturday to Tokyo where they will be greeted at an official welcome ceremony in Urayusu City.
The World Cup will kick off on Friday, while the Boks will face the All Blacks in their tournament opener the day after.
‘We have been together for 11, 12 weeks now, basically away from home most of the time, and we have certainly got closer as a team,’ Erasmus commented on Friday.
‘We have achieved a lot of the objectives we set in coming early to Japan.
‘The first was to get to know the country and the people and how things operate here and to be comfortable in the country and we’ve achieved that.
‘The second one was to get some match time against good opposition, which was Japan, and we achieved that.
‘And then obviously the third one was to get the guys used to the climatic conditions, not just the heat, but the humidity, both in match and in training time and we’ve done that.’
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said it had been a ‘great privilege’ to absorb the atmosphere in Japan.
‘We know how to handle the conditions now and the fact that our training has been very hard means it will stand us in good stead. The benefits will come through later in the games.
‘The people have been so welcoming in the way they have looked after us; they always want to help; they are very welcoming and always ready to help us.’
Erasmus added: ‘Something that has stood out for me – and I don’t think I’ve seen this anywhere else – is the people of the host nation wearing the jersey of the visiting team – the Springbok badge.
‘I think that’s been amazing to see the Japanese people wearing the Springbok jersey. I think that shows a lot of respect and I think we can learn a lot from that.
‘It makes us proud to see that and I think you can be proud of how you have supported the World Cup and adopting teams that are visiting here and making them feel at home.’
Photo: Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets