Former Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter believes that Japan won’t be able to dominate the Boks’ forward pack during Sunday’s quarter-final in Tokyo.
While the hosts have set the World Cup alight with their high-tempo attacking play, Venter believes that defence, and not attack, will determine the results of tense knockout games at the World Cup.
The Boks will face a Japan side brimming with confidence following their historic run to a first-ever quarter-final, and will be hoping to nullify the impact of Japan’s ‘Ferraris’ – wings Kenki Fukoka and Kotaro Matsushima – out wide.
In his column for Stuff.co.nz, Venter writes that the outcome of the game will be determined by which side gains dominance at the set piece and is more effective defensively.
‘In terms of the South Africa-Japan quarter-final, you can’t imagine the hosts having the firepower,’ writes Venter. ‘When you look at this Japanese team, they just don’t have the forward ammunition to beat the Boks.
‘Rassie Erasmus now knows how to beat Japan, having done so 41-7 in the World Cup warm-up match. South Africa dominated the mauls, scrums and aerial contests.’
Despite Japan creating chances on attack, the Brave Blossoms were unable to get their rapid attacking game going, and struggled to break through a solid Bok defence during that encounter.
‘Japan will look at that match and say they created enough space on attack,’ continued Venter. ‘On the day, they just didn’t take their chances and they will note, “If there is one team whose defence we can break down it’s South Africa’s.”
‘Ex-All Blacks first-five Tony Brown, who serves as Japan’s attack coach, has been amazing. He would be sizing up the scene and almost licking his lips.
‘Japan won’t get forward dominance or gain aerial parity, but, wow, can they attack. From a South African point of view, they are not going to beat Japan by playing from deep. It’s neither Rassie’s nor the Springboks’ way. Rassie is literally playing to South Africa’s strengths and he must keep doing it.’
Photo: FRANCK ROBICHON/EPA