KUMAGAYA – South Africa head into their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against hosts Japan on Friday with not only the upcoming tournament on their minds but also the embarrassing loss they suffered the last time the teams met.
At the 2015 World Cup, Japan caused one of the biggest upsets in tournament history with their 34-32 victory over the Springboks in England.
Although both sides have said the match that kicks off at 7:15 p.m. (1015 GMT) in the World Cup host city of Kumagaya, which is north of Tokyo, is tournament preparation, the events of four years ago in Brighton have dominated the build-up.
“You can definitely see this (Japan) is a much different team, much fitter, much stronger (than four years ago),” South African captain Siya Kolisi said on Thursday.
“It is going to be a challenge, a whole new challenge but we are also a different team at the same time. For both teams this is going to be something new, something different with a whole new coaching staff.”