DURBAN – Don’t believe Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus when he says Japan would be as difficult a prospect as Ireland in the World Cup quarter-finals. The Boks would take the option of Japan every day of the week.
Ireland, despite their indifferent World Cup performances, still have enough quality in their line-up to produce the kind of 80 minutes that could knock out either of South Africa or New Zealand. They have enjoyed success against both teams in recent years and the belief of a win would have as much conviction within the squad, as it would have hope from Irish supporters.
A Bok quarter-final against Ireland offers no guarantee; one against Japan offers every guarantee that the Boks would win, and win well.
The Boks trounced the Brave Blossoms 41-7 in Japan a fortnight before the start of the World Cup and if the two teams did meet in the last eight, I’d expect a similar score differential.
Japan are playing on adrenaline and incredible hometown support, but the Brave Blossoms just don’t have the quality or depth in a matchday squad to go beyond a quarter-final.