Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said he was satisfied with his side’s performance in the 41-7 World Cup warm-up victory over hosts Japan in Kumagaya.
The Springboks’ seven try to one victory completed the team’s World Cup preparations and restored some historic order in the wake of Japan’s famous 34-32 victory at the 2015 World Cup.
It was a day to remember for the Bok wings as Makazole Mapimpi scored a hat-trick while Cheslin Kolbe went over for a brace.
Speaking after the match, Erasmus said he was happy that his side managed to get good results from their tactical kicking.
‘There are some tired players in the change room and some tired bodies but we haven’t got a lot of injuries and it has put us on the right track for the World Cup,’ said Erasmus.
‘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 of our seven tries from contestable kick turnover so we’re happy how that turned out. Having said that, I think the scoreboard was flattering to us today.’
Erasmus added that he was pleased with the respect that the home crowd showed the Boks during the game.
‘I haven’t experienced the way the crowd respected the game – the way they applauded good play from both sides and when the replacements came on and were quiet for the kickers – it’s not something we’ve experienced before.
‘And 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 we hopefully we see them in the playoffs if we progress.’
The Springboks open their 2019 World Cup campaign against the All Blacks on 21 September.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets