Rugby World Cup: Japan ‘not planning to stop’ at South Africa quarter-final

Japan beat Scotland to reach the quarter-finals for the first timeRugby World Cup quarter-final: Japan v South AfricaVenue: Tokyo Stadium Date: Sunday, 20 October Kick-off: 11:15 BSTCoverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online with text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.Japan are not satisfied by reaching their first World Cup…

Japan celebrate try against Scotland

Japan beat Scotland to reach the quarter-finals for the first time
Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Japan v South Africa
Venue: Tokyo Stadium Date: Sunday, 20 October Kick-off: 11:15 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online with text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Japan are not satisfied by reaching their first World Cup quarter-final, says flanker Lappies Labuschagne.

The Brave Blossoms have been one of the stories of their home World Cup, topping Pool A to reach the knockout stages for the first time.

They play South Africa, who they upset in the 2015 World Cup, for a place in the last four on Sunday.

Labuschagne says they are “not planning to stop here” and will “keep on playing for each other and being one team”.

The 30-year-old is one of two members of the Japan squad to be born in South Africa but says Japan is his “new home”.

“I really love South Africa and the people there but I also love Japan and everyone here,” Labuschagne said. “This is our team. This has become our new home.

“We want to make everyone in Japan proud, everyone in this camp, this group, we’ve worked really hard to reach the goal we set up for ourselves.”

What happens if there’s a draw?
If scores are tied at full-time teams will play 10 minutes of extra time each way
If there’s still no winner, 10 minutes of sudden death will follow where the first team to score wins
Finally, if the scores are still tied, a best-of-five place-kicking competition will take place

‘We never want to go through a shock like Brighton again’

South Africa began the tournament as one of the favourites

Japan’s win over South Africa four years ago was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history but their coach Jamie Joseph says his side will not be drawing on the victory.

“In fact, I’ve been trying to forget about it for the last four years,” Joseph said. “Everyone talked about it, but we’re a different team, different players.”

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi came off the bench four years ago in Brighton and said it was a “very tough” defeat.

He said it had “stuck with” them until they beat the Brave Blossoms 41-7 in a warm-up to this World Cup.

“It’s something that we never want to go through again,” Kolisi said.

“But they are a much better team now, and it was good to play that game before the World Cup, just to get that monkey off our back.

“Now it’s a different game again. We are going to have to be at our best again, because they have really improved as a team – they are much better now than four years ago. So, we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Japan winger Kotaro Matsushima scored five tries in the pool stage, the joint most of any player, and Kolisi admitted he is an “awesome player” but said his side have nothing specific in place to counteract him.

“We have nothing specific to watch one person – their whole team have been doing well, and he’s getting great opportunities because the team are doing well with ball-in-hand,” Kolisi said.


Japan: Yamanaka; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Fukuoka; Tamura, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Koo, Thompson, Moore, Leitch (c), Labuschagne, Himeno.

Replacements: Sakate, Nakajima, Ai Valu, Van der Walt, Lelei Mafi, Tanaka, Matsuda, Lava Lemeki.

South Africa: Le Roux: Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, De Klerk, Mtawarira, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (c), Du Toit, Vermeulen

Replacements: Marx, Kitschoff, Koch, Snyman, Mostert, Louw, H Jantjies, Steyn

Match facts

  • This will be the third time Japan and South Africa have met in Test rugby, Japan beating the Springboks 34-32 at the 2015 World Cup before South Africa secured a comfortable 41-7 victory in a warm-up game for this World Cup
  • Japan’s victory over South Africa in 2015 was their first against a tier-one nation in the tournament at their 16th attempt, they have won two of their three such games since (v Ireland and Scotland in 2019)
  • Japan have won six consecutive Rugby World Cup matches, only Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England have enjoyed longer winning runs in the tournament
  • South Africa scored more tries (27) and points (185) than any other side in the pool stages, their tally of 27 tries is more than double the amount Japan scored (13)
  • South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe averaged 12.8 metres per carry in the pool stage, the best rate of any player to make 10+ carries, Japan’s Kenki Fukuoka (12.3m) ranked second in this statistic
  • Japan’s Kazuki Himeno won more jackal turnovers (5) than any other player in the pool stage, including two in their crucial win over Scotland
  • Japan made 559 metres in their pool stage victory against Scotland, the third time at the 2019 Rugby World Cup they had made 500+ metres in a match, South Africa and Australia are the only other sides to manage this
  • South Africa won 47 out of 47 line-outs on their own throw in the pool stages, the only side in the tournament to maintain a 100% success rate at this set-piece
  • Yu Tamura both kicked (19) and missed (8) more shots at goal than any other player in the pool stages, giving him a kicking success rate of 70%

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