KOBE – South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has ticked the boxes on a successful Pool B campaign at the Rugby World Cup which, despite an opening defeat to New Zealand, may provide them with a gentler route to the final in Yokohama on Nov. 2.
The Springboks must wait to discover their quarter-final opponents, but an expected second place in the pool could see them avoid the gritty Irish and take on Japan, where they will expect their enormous physicality to subdue the hosts, just as it did in a 41-7 warm-up win last month.
“I know the Irish so well and they are so professional. They will be a big threat, and I will be nervous if we play them,” Erasmus admitted to reporters in Kobe.
“Japan is a much bigger threat than people think and they beat Ireland the other day. I’m not quite sure who would be the easier bet. Scotland can also still sneak in there.”
The Pool A equation will only be decided on Sunday, but for now the Bok players are enjoying two days off after 16 weeks together and a World Cup campaign that is building momentum.