Japan Captain Michael Leitch says his team is prepared for their challenging World Cup quarter-final against the Springboks in Tokyo.
Japan beat Russia, Ireland and Samoa before ousting Scotland 28-21 in an enthralling clash on Sunday to become the first Asian team to advance to the World Cup playoffs.
On Monday, a day after their historic win against the Scots, Leitch said he was still struggling to comprehend what they had achieved.
‘I was in my bed by about 1:30am and I haven’t actually slept – I’ve been awake the whole time, so I’m a little bit slow today. Looking back, even since 2011, this team has grown so much and it’s scary to think how far this team can still grow,’ an emotional Leitch said.
Japan will next take on South Africa in a quarter-final in Tokyo on Sunday. Leitch believes his team is ready to be competitive in their first-ever RWC knockout match.
‘The last four games, we’ve been getting better each time and our confidence is growing. Our self-belief has increased game by game. It’s going to be a very tough game against South Africa but we’ve prepared for this. The most important thing is to start from zero and build again, piece by piece,’ he explained.
Lock Luke Thompsom described their looming quarter-final against the Boks as a ‘free hit because we have nothing to lose’.
‘Four years ago we were able to sneak up on South Africa. Now it’s a completely different situation. No one expects us to win again, but we believe.’
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