Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus was a satisfied man after his team beat Japan 41-7 in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match.
The Springboks were looking for a workout as well as being eager to maintain their good collective form. While Japan didn’t pose the physical challenge that the Springboks main World Cup rivals will, they were willing to attack out wide.
The Boks rush defence was just about quick enough to keep Japan from exploiting the spaces out wide. Japan were not good in the air although they were game enough to test the Springboks on occasion.
Springboks come through warm-up unschated
There has been no word yet on the severity of the injury that forced Trevor Nyakane from the field, but Erasmus was happy that the team seems to have come through the match without any major knocks.
“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 Rugby World Cup,” said Erasmus.
“Japan pushed us hard right to the end. At halftime we were leading 14-0 or 22-0 or something 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 also said how much his team was enjoying their Japanese experience.
“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 play offs if we progress.”
Siya Kolisi was asked what impact the appointment of Erasmus had had on the team.
“The one thing that he brought back to us is that the Springboks are bigger than our personal goals and that if we work as hard as we can for each other we will be successful.”