Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that Typhoon Hagibis won’t impact on the Springboks’ preparations ahead of the World Cup quarter-finals. JON CARDINELLI in Kobe reports.
One of the most violent typhoons in decades is set to hit the Japanese island of Honshu on Saturday night. The match between New Zealand and Italy in Toyota, as well as the Pool C decider between England and France, have already been cancelled by World Rugby.
There’s a chance that another crucial game between Japan and Scotland will be called off if the storm doesn’t clear before Sunday night. Japan will finish the group stage at the top of Pool A in that event – and host the Boks in the quarter-finals.
The South Africans will remain in Kobe – some 500km west of Tokyo – until Monday morning. By then, they will know whether they are playing Japan, Ireland or Scotland in the playoffs.
‘The typhoon won’t affect us,’ Erasmus said on Friday. ‘We trained today and will do so again tomorrow. We can do the latter indoors if the weather is bad. We will only head to Tokyo early next week.
‘Obviously it will influence us in terms of the opponents we’ll face in the quarter-finals. We are just as interested in following the situation as everyone else.
‘It’s a first for me as a coach. I’ve never been part of something like this before.’
The Boks played their last pool match against Canada on Tuesday night. Following two days of rest, the players have reconvened for what will effectively be a nine-day buildup to the quarter-final in Tokyo next Sunday.
There’s been a lot of debate about how the cancelled matches may impact on the planning of England, France and New Zealand ahead of the playoffs. Erasmus admitted that those teams will have to adjust after completing only three of their four pool games.
‘When I was at Munster, one of our games against Racing Metro was cancelled after our head coach [Anthony Foley] passed away the day before. [A cancelled match] definitely throws a lot of things in terms of planning. You have to rethink your planning around squad rotation and bringing players back from injury and so on.
‘Every team does things differently. Some teams will want to keep playing, others will be grateful for the break before the quarter-final now that the game has been cancelled.
‘For us, we’ve come through our four games without too many injuries,’ the Bok coach added. ‘We’re pretty much on track and now we will wait to learn who our quarter-final opponent is going to be.
‘I would be stupid to comment on whether that break will benefit other teams or not. I don’t have the inside info regarding what other teams prefer.’
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