Cape Town — When the Springboks line up against Japan in Kumagaya on Friday, it will be impossible for South African rugby fans not to cast their minds back to September 19, 2015.
That was the day the Boks lost their 2015 World Cup opener to the Brave Blossoms in Brighton in what remains one of the greatest upsets the game has ever seen.
Now, four years later, the Boks will have their opportunity to meet Japan for only the second time.
The stakes this time around are obviously a lot lower – this is a warm-up match before the start of the 2019 World Cup – but that famous 34-32 loss will be something the Boks are desperate to overturn as clinically as possible.
Cheslin Kolbe, picked on the right wing for Friday’s clash, was not part of the Bok plans in 2015 and his advice for his team-mates is to simply focus on the task at hand.
“We’re a proud nation and we definitely go out there to win and we don’t put our minds on losing. I don’t think we should have the mindset of what happened four years ago,” he said on Tuesday.
“We should just focus on the match happening on Friday and prepare as well as we can and play the best rugby we can.
“What happened four years ago happened and we can’t rectify that, we have to stay in this moment and that’s going to happen on Friday.
“I don’t think we should have any fear within ourselves … we should just be ourselves and play our natural game.”
Kolbe also offered his thoughts on the unique difficulties that come with playing in Japanese conditions.
“It’s something to get used to especially with the humidity, the heat and the ball being wet,” he said.
“I think in terms of our playing style we just have to get closer to one another and simplify our game.”
Kick-off on Friday is at 12:15 (SA time).
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel
– Compiled by Lloyd Burnard
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Publish date : 2019-09-03 09:54:18