Teams arriving in Japan for the upcoming World Cup are well aware of the hot and humid conditions that await them during the country’s typhoon season.
The Springboks arrived in the country early to prepare for the tournament and they even had warm-up match against Japan, which they won 41-7.
By the time the tournament starts the Boks would have had three weeks to get used to the conditions. There main World Cup rivals have not even arrived in Japan yet.
The conditions will play a big role and the Boks employed some tactics against the Japanese in their match on Friday with that in mind.
“The first thing for us was to adapt to the weather, especially the wetness of the ball,” said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. “Twenty-five minutes into the game the ball is wet, the jersey is wet and your arms are wet. We got similar weather when we play in Durban and we expected it to be that way.
“We decided to treat it as a wet game and play without the ball just to see how it goes because we don’t what it will be like against New Zealand and I guess it paid off a little bit.
“There were stages during the game when Japan almost got away and could have scored tries. I think we were fairly effective in doing it [defending], but there were stages when Japan could have capitalised on that, so we weren’t 100 percent successful.
“However, it was a dominant defensive performance which eventually led to tries for us from turnovers. I would say we were 80 percent successful.”
Erasmus was also pleased with his team’s ability to get possession from contestable kicks.
“There are a few ways you get possession. They are scrums, line-outs and kick-offs and if you have contestable kicks and you get the ball back that is another source of possession,” Erasmus added.
“To get used to conditions we thought it was something to test Japan on because we’ve never really seen how they handle that. We know how they handle scrums, how they handle line-outs and kick-offs, but we’ve never seen them handle contestable kicks and out of our six tries I think four came from contestable kicks.
“It was another source of possession for us, but it will definitely not be a big source of possession against New Zealand. We thought it was something that could take Japan out of their comfort zone and lucky for us it did work on the day.”
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