Rassie: Springboks against Japan realistic
While putting 50 points on a team will always be a positive, at times it felt like the Boks could perhaps have done more against a much-changed Namibia team with only eight professional players, especially in terms of their finishing.
To be fair, Erasmus’ run-on side featured 13 changes to the team that suffered a 23-13 opening loss to New Zealand, and all the handling errors they were guilty of were certainly impacted by the conditions and them having almost all the possession in the opening half.
Although Namibia put up a strong defensive shift in the first half especially, the Boks still ran in nine tries, with some coming from a much-improved mauling performance. Another area that looked much better was the box kick, while the Boks were brutal at the set piece.
This doesn’t mean the team are where they want to be, though, according to Erasmus.
“Yes, I think so (when asked if he’s happy with the result). It’s difficult to explain to people how tough it is to handle (the ball) in these conditions. It’s always easy in the first 20, 25 minutes,” he said after the game.
“Then it gets a little bit boring, and I guess you could see it even in the Japan-Ireland game - the Japanese did really well because they used the conditions to really handle the ball up until the end.
“Out of all the teams last week, we had the toughest pool game, so we needed to bounce back with a win. We got the win and the five points. It was awful looking at the table and seeing us on zero table points. So, that’s a positive.
“By no means are we thinking, ‘Well done'. We are realistic about where we are, and what we still have to do.”
Earlier in the day, Japan produced the moment of the World Cup when they beat world No 2-ranked team Ireland 19-12.
While it was the biggest upset thus far, it didn’t seem like the result came as a major shock for Erasmus, who had tipped the hosts as a possible play-off team before the World Cup kicked off.
“A week ago, I said if we manage to beat Italy, and Ireland manage to beat Japan, then we might meet Ireland, but both of us have to get past those hurdles.
“Now Ireland didn’t, and we still have to play Italy. I always knew that Japan were a realistic contender for the quarter-finals.
“If they manage to beat Scotland, they can be on top of the pool, and if we manage to beat Italy, then that’s (South Africa against Japan in the quarter-finals) a realistic option. And also a scary option.”@WynonaLouw